Although many have become accustomed to turning to Google for answers to nearly everything when it comes to the personalized solar power solutions, answers can still be hard to find. To that end, Google has decided to create what amounts to a solar energy optimization map. It’s called Project Sunroof, and it can tell you where to find the best places in a city to gather solar energy from roof-mounted solar panels.
The search engine comes up with results by combining aerial and map data. It uses Google Maps, 3D modeling of roof structures, historical cloud and temperature patterns that could impact solar energy generation as well as shadows cast by surrounding buildings and trees. When you plug an address into the search page, you’ll see a map of the roof areas with the most shade or sun exposure. You also get a listing of how much usable sunlight per year the roof could provide, as well as the available square footage available on that roof for solar panels.
Below the map data, the site lists options for financing the purchase of solar panels, as well as a list of solar panel companies that serve the area selected. The one catch is that the coverage of Project Sunroof is, at this point, extremely limited, covering only three areas: the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, California, and Boston. In the case of the Bay Area, even nearby cities like Petaluma are left off the map, so the coverage remains very small at present.