Needless to say, a lot more people would likely choose to install solar panels on their roofs, if they had viable information as to how much power they can realistically expect to get from them. Solar panels are expensive after all. Now, Google is starting a new venture called Project Sunroof, which will go a long way towards remedying this problem.

The project will be powered by Google Maps, and it will allow users to calculate how much sun their roof gets. It will also offer a way to calculate the power bill savings they can expect should they choose to go solar.

Google claims they already have all the necessary data to create detailed maps of rooftops and their solar harvesting capabilities. Project Sunroof will involve combining the large database of arial photos already in Google Maps and 3D modeling of the roofs. It will also factor in shade thrown by nearby buildings and trees. The program will also take into account possible sun positions, as well as cloud and temperature patterns in a particular area.

Through all this, they will be able to offer a thorough analysis of the solar potential of every roof. It will, furthermore, offer information pertaining to how many hours of profitable sunlight the roof gets each day, and what percentage of this space can be covered by solar panels, as well as the level of savings homeowners can expect if they install them.

Project Sunroof will also offer various calculations, taking into account different ways of obtaining solar panels, such as leasing them, buying them via a loan, or purchasing them in one go. These figures will be based on current prices and financing options and will take into account federal and state tax credits, renewable energy credits, net metering and utility rebates. In addition to this, they will also serve up the contact information for local solar panel providers.


At this time, Google is introducing this service to residents of Fresno, the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston. In the near future, they plan to offer it to the whole country and later the entire world.