Google has rolled out a search engine with a specific target in mind: your house, more specifically how much area of your roof could be covered in solar panels, what that would save you and where you can look for companies to install a system for you.
Interested homeowners can input their addresses and get realistic illustrations of how many solar panels would fit and what their potential cost savings on energy bills are likely to be.
A complex data comprising everything from your home’s location and orientation to the presence of shade from adjacent trees or buildings – but this set is broken down into simple information for users.
Google, of course, is well-positioned to make this Sunroof tool effective, combining its Google Maps and Earth data that can sort out not just the footprint of a building but its 3D space too, and thus shadows. It also has all of the other information at hand, like average temperatures, sun exposure, cloud cover.
Users of the tool can tinker with variables, but ultimately are given a recommended installation that maximizes the potential output and thus puts more back in homeowner pockets long-term. For now it is limited to the San Francisco Bay Area, Boston and a few other locations, but they have plans to expand around the country.