I've been staring at my roof a lot for the last few years, wondering whether or not it would make sense to invest in solar. After all, I live in a Southern state with plenty of sunshine. But I also live in an old Southern city with plenty of shade cast by majestic urban oak trees.
I was pretty sure it was a waste of time, so I hadn't gone to the effort of calling an installer and asking for an estimate. But Google's Project Sunroof suggests it might not be a total lost cause. (See screen capture above.)
And what's exciting, as reported over at Cleantechnica, is that Project Sunroof has now quietly become available in 42 states. Essentially it's an online platform in which you can plug in your address, and get a basic analysis of how much sun your roof gets, how big an installation might make sense, what the costs might be, and what kind of savings you can expect to receive. It's certainly a useful took for getting a basic idea of whether an installation is worth exploring further. The platform also gives you the option of fine tuning the estimate based on your actual electricity usage and other parameters. And it offers to put you in touch with local installers who could give you a more accurate quote.
Now whether or not it's accurate in all instances remains to be seen. I have a hard time imagining that my roof really has 1,182 sq feet available for panels. (A good chunk of the highlighted area above is actually North facing.) Still, it's piqued my interest enough that I am thinking of sending it along to a friend in the solar business. We'll see what they make of it.
Anyone else tried Project Sunroof on their home? And did the analysis match up with eventual reality when you got an estimate? Feel free to share you experiences in the comments section below.
Oh, and what are the 42 states? It's probably easier to just list the ones where Project Sunroof is not yet available. And that's Texas, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Idaho, South Dakota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alaska, and the District of Columbia. But Google says it's aiming to reach every state in the US in the not-too-distant future.