Google expands Project Sunroof to 20 metro areas

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Tech giant Google has expanded its Project Sunroof analytical tool to 20 metropolitan areas across the U.S. following a successful rollout in August 2015 in San Francisco, Fresno and Boston.

The expanded service now cover metropolitan areas in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina.

The online service assesses the suitability of rooftops for solar PV installations, using software similar to that used to compare air fares and hotels via the Google Earth platform and a solar database assessing weather and shading patterns, as well as local solar incentives and rates.

The Project Sunroof tool also compares various financing options for homeowners and businesses, offering a breakdown of direct ownership, lease and loan packages. A second evaluation is also offered to prospective consumers via a direct link to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s PV Watts tool.

Google’s tool is an addition to a growing market for solar mapping and analysis. Alongside NREL’s PV Watts tool, Sungevity has also been providing online estimates for solar rooftop installations. However, Google’s tool is available publicly online to anybody interested – or at least curious – about solar energy, whereas Sungevity’s model is reserved for potential customers who have already been in touch.