Google's 'Project Sunroof' now maps existing solar installations - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Solar  -  June 12, 2017

Google's 'Project Sunroof' maps existing rooftop solar

Google on June 12 announced another expansion in capabilities of its "Project Sunroof" tool that allows a user to view already installed solar projects in any given neighborhood.

Dubbed the 'Project Sunroof Data Explorer," the new feature combines machine learning with imagery from Google Maps and Google Earth to provide an estimate of how many houses in an area have solar, Senior Software Engineer Carl Elkin wrote in a June 12 blog post. Based on data manually collected from high-resolution images of rooftops, Google set an algorithm that, after lots of practice, can now automatically find and identify solar installations, including photovoltaic panels and solar hot water heaters, on its own.

"Now instead of driving street to street, it's a little easier to see if houses around you and communities nearby have already gone solar," Elkin wrote. 

Thus far, Project Sunroof has identified approximately 700,000 installations in the U.S. and hopes to discover and display more over time as its capabilities continue to improve, according to the blog post.

"We hope that this new feature will provide policy makers, communities and individuals with more information to help make smarter decisions in their transition to cleaner power sources," he wrote.

In May, Google announced that it had partnered with Essen, Germany-based E.On to expand Project Sunroof into Germany. 

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