Google lights up the sky with Project Sunroof

Google has added a new weapon to its arsenal that can help you decide whether or not to convert your home to solar energy.

It’s called Project Sunroof, and by simply entering your address (like you do with google maps), it uses its maps and satellite technology to compute how much sunlight hits your roof in a year. It will then recommend the installation size to “generate close to 100% of your electricity use, based on roof size, the amount of sun hitting the roof, and your electricity bill”. Well that’s pretty cool.

It seems that Google is doing its bit for climate change and clean energy, and is providing a big-brand endorsement of solar to bridge the gap between the average joe and the advent of unfamiliar technology. Unfortunately, at the moment the project is in its early stages, having only been rolled out in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno Calafornia and Greater Boston Massachusetts. Given Google’s track record of testing locally, then exploding out across the world, we should be seeing a roll-out in Australia hopefully within the next 12 months.

sunroof2

The only possible issue with expansion to Australia, is the legislative landscape and the lack of growth in this sector. Although Australia has a stable RET; has announced an Emissions Reduction Target to the UN; is driving the Emissions Reduction Fund and managing the National Carbon Offset Standard, the withdrawal of major renewables players makes investment unlikely.

Private investments into these projects encourages the uptake and future assimilation of solar PV systems across our community. Investment has a great scaling effect and we have to hope that something freely available like Project Solar can result in the same momentum. Only in the last week we have seen the WA Energy Minister announce that solar PV systems could power 100% of the state’s daytime energy needs within a decade; this gives us some confidence that there could be some significant renewables-related investor growth in the west in the coming years.

In the the interim, we suggest hanging out on your roof to judge the solar capacity of your domicile for yourself. And while you’re up there, maybe get your neighbours involved, and their neighbours, and their neighbours. Adaptation to clean energy starts locally and you can be a real advocate and catalyst if you put your mind to it.

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