Is your roof right for solar panels? Most of us have no idea. Google’s coolest new tool, Project Sunroof, can tell you this and much more.
However the Australian Photovoltaic Institute was one step ahead, having rolled out a similar tool a few months ago.
Google is taking advantage of their high resolution global aerial maps to help anyone considering solar to be informed about their choice. After the large influx of Google searches from home owners questioning whether their roof is right for solar, Google has answered the needs of the people and released their solar mapping tool this week to Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area and Fresno.
All you need to do input your address and within two seconds you can learn how many hours of usable sunlight are available on your roof per year and the savings you can make.
There is even a functionality to select your average electricity bill price, then obtain the suggested size of your system and detailed financing options. Depending on the success of the tool, Google plans to roll it out to the rest of the US and other countries.
The Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) has previously created the Live Solar Potential Tool which works in a similar way to Project Sunroof, however goes further to offer technical advice on your solar installation and greenhouse gas emission reductions.
At present it is available in the city council areas in all Australian capital cities. Solar Analytics’ Co-Founder & Commercial Director and APVI Chair Dr Renate Egan says “we are talking to a range of parties, including AGL and Google, about extending this capability across more of Australia”.
These tools work by taking into account weather, shading from nearby buildings and vegetation and the tilt and orientation of your roof in order to calculate the amount of energy your system could generate. The basis of this method is similar to the calculations of expected solar energy generation that we undertake here at Solar Analytics (see How it Works for more information).
We tested out the APVI tool on Solar Analytics’ future new office in Redfern and found that our new building could fit a 40kW system, saving us $12,285 per year! We encourage anyone considering solar installation to check out these great new tools.