Last year tech giant Google introduced Project Sunroof, a service that allows homeowners to determine whether their home is fit for a solar array. Users can also use the service to connect with local solar providers. Google initially launched in just three cities, but as of last month the service is available in 42 states, potentially reaching as many as 43 million roofs.
Project Sunroof works in tandem with Google Earth, using the aerial images the company already has. The service offers an estimate of how much a homeowner could save over a 20-year lease, drawing on factors like local weather, roof orientation, and shade. Users can obtain an even more precise estimate by inputting utility bill information.
According to Google, while “thousands” use the function every month, they’re still working to expand awareness so more homeowners know about the free search tool. Business Development leader for Project Sunroof Nicole Lombardo told Greentech Media, “Google is in the business of providing universal access to information. So being able to take the imagery that we have and find new use cases for it that can help, in this case catalyze the renewable energy transition here in the U.S. …is within our core.”
Solar companies pay Google to be a part of the platform, bidding for referrals. Those homeowners interested in seriously pursuing rooftop solar have the option to share their information with those solar companies to move forward.
Pick My Solar CEO Max Aram, whose company is one of those working with Google, said “…when Google jumps into an industry it’s a validation for that whole industry.”
Currently Project Sunroof cannot be used in Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, Texas, South Dakota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Rhode Island, or the District of Colombia. Yet Google says it’s only a matter of time before Project Sunroof it does.