Google's 'project sunroof' calculator expands - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Distributed Generation, Solar  -  November 11, 2016

Google expands 'project sunroof' calculator capabilities

Google has expanded the capabilities of its 'Project Sunroof' data explorer to include solar generation estimates for entire communities. 

The technology company's Project Sunroof calculator, launched earlier this year, originally aimed to help homeowners explore the benefits of installing a rooftop system, offering estimates for more than 43 million houses across 42 states.

The new feature, Google wrote in a Nov. 3 blog post, is intended to help communities, cities and municipalities easily visualize how many rooftops are suitable to install solar, how much power they could collectively generate, as well as how much carbon could be displaced by deploying rooftop solar at scale. Project Sunroof's solar potential reports can be easily shared amongst community members, researchers and policymakers directly from the free tool itself, Google said. 

While Google did not explicitly mention business use in its announcement of the product, a recent trend toward public-private partnerships around community or shared solar suggests they too, could benefit from the tool as more and more cities pursue clean energy goals

Google wrote:

Rooftop solar is a viable option for many cities today. Sunroof’s data explorer found that in more than 90% of communities that the tool covers within 42 states nationwide, well over half the rooftops are viable for solar. Today, cities like Denver and organizations like League of Cities see great value in using the data explorer tool to evaluate whether solar can drive economic savings and growth, as well as help transition energy consumption to lower carbon sources for their communities.

In the blog post, Google quoted Thomas Herrod, a climate and policy analyst for the city of Denver, who said the data explorer is helping Denver pursue its goal of cutting the city's greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050. 

"Rooftop solar is already a viable option within Denver, but this tool helps us refine our efforts to ensure equity in our outreach, efficiency in our efforts, and measurement in our management resources," Herrod said. "Of equal importance is the ability to identify where rooftop solar may not be an option – helping us identify areas where other renewable energy programs offered by our utility can fill the gap." 


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