This summer, Google somewhat quietly launched a cool online tool that lets property owners calculate their rooftop solar energy potential. Project Sunroof is free to use and even helps people connect with solar installers to get the ball rolling, but there was a catch. In order to take advantage of Google’s free assessment, your address had to be in Boston (where the project started), San Francisco, or Fresno, California. Google has now announced the expansion of the project to include nine more solar-friendly regions of the United States.
Now, property owners in Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, California, Connecticut, Nevada, and New York can hop online and use their ‘Google-fu’ to evaluate the solar potential of their roof line. The feel and function of the Project Sunroof website haven’t changed, but it took the tech giant a while to collect and organize all the data necessary to make the tool worthwhile in new areas. Focusing on regions where solar power is already popular makes a lot of sense, too, since residents in those areas are most likely to benefit from installing solar panels due to the amount of sunshine their state receives.
Google timed its announcement of the Project Sunroof expansion with the closing of the United Nations climate conference in Paris, which rendered an international climate policy deal. Perhaps the folks at Google are thinking the landmark international agreement will inspire individual property owners to pitch in and boost clean energy production. Indeed, many critics of the global deal are saying ground-level action is the only thing that can save the planet. Hopefully the folks running the show in California, where Google is headquartered, will keep that in mind as they consider whether to impose additional fees for rooftop solar installations.
Images via Google and Katie Fehrenbacher/Gigaom