Introducing Project Sunroof

The viability of solar energy systems has always been a hit or miss for home keepers. It’s tempting if you have the capital. However, you still need to know if your residential area is optimal for it or not. That’s where things get a little… tricky. Fortunately, Google Maps can now tell you firsthand if your home is viable for the green plug or not with its latest feature.

Project Sunroof, as it is named, is a feature of Google Maps that can deliver direct and detailed information about the solar energy output that individual user homes can make for that specific area in the world. Currently available only in Boston, San Francisco, and Fresno, the feature mainly shows a convenient color coding system, where your roof gets quickly analyzed on how a solar panel installation could be optimized on it. This info is also augmented with several key data figures, which are shown on the left, on how many hours of sunlight per year, for example, and the calculated amount of relative space that can be used to install those solar panels.

Therefore, if you want to know if your home can economically use a solar energy system or not, you just need to see how “bright’ the indicator goes on your home’s roof as it is shown in Google Maps. If it presents a nice number to the amount of savings, backed up by a great balance between sunlight hours and a solar panel installation area, then you might want to call the nearest solar power company right away.

As to how Project Sunroof gets its data, aside from calculating roof surface areas, the system also analyzes sun positions over the course of a year. Of course, various meteorological and strategic variables are also taken into account; for instance, the type of clouds that usually hover over your residential area, your area’s annual precipitation rate, or the amount of shade that is cast by other structures nearby.

While solar energy is still far from being efficient in terms of raw energy to energy transfer, several innovations, both technology and business-wise, have made the option far easier to access in most developed countries in the world. This is even more so in countries where solar energy is considered an active national program, such as in Germany and India. Having the quick and easy option to conveniently analyze the viability of a solar energy system in your area not only helps educate people about solar energy, but it also creates huge savings for those who do not particularly want the solar power company to analyze for them.

Also, the data provided by the system is also immensely helpful in calculating the amount of time needed before the solar energy system completely pays for itself. This alone is a crucial factor that dictates whether or not your home can maintain its green plug long enough after a relatively hefty investment for such technology. Granted, the area limitations at the moment still put it in the testing phase, but if Project Sunroof eventually becomes a standard global feature, it might just spark the biggest green renewable energy boom the world has yet to see.

Christian Crisostomo
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