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Here Comes "Project Sunroof"

August 27th, 2015

Here Comes "Project Sunroof"

Written by Alessandra Price 

The sun, as we all know, is an amazing source of energy that is responsible and necessary for life on Earth.  93,000,000 miles away, the sun emits light traveling at a speed of 186,000 miles per second takes – it takes about eight minutes for it to reach the earth’s surface. The sun is the closest star to Earth, a fusion reactor that has been burning for over 4 billion years and provides enough energy in one minute to power the earth for an entire year. 

Throughout time, people have discovered the opportunity of the sun’s energy and are finding new ways to harness its greatness everyday. Solar power is finding its way into businesses and homes around the world.  With the knowledge and technology there is now, its hard not to consider converting. Solar power is one of the most efficient and environmentally friendly ways of obtaining energy being that it is a free, noiseless and an inexhaustible source. Solar panels harness the energy that the sun emits and turns it into usable energy.   A long time ago, Einstein proposed the explanation of the “photoelectric effect” and how to engage light from the sun with cells to form electrical potential. And that’s exactly what the solar panels (or photovoltaic cells) do that we see an increasing number of these days . . . on our calculators, on rooftops and now cars.  They generate energy by the electrons that are flowing through the cells, activated by the sun’s rays.  These panels are composed of a series of cells from a semi-conductive material, something between copper and glass. They absorb the energy, knocking the electrons loose from their atoms.

However, solar power is not easily that obtained, being that the sun is only available during the daytime.   People are hesitant converting to solar power, having time and money to worry about.  Solar energy appears expensive and it’s hard to know whether or not your home is a good place for solar panels. Does my house get enough sun? Can I afford it? What will I need? Luckily, Google has come up with a solution to your questions.

About a week ago, Google launched “Project Sunroof”, a program designed to assist homeowners in determining if their property is a suitable location for solar panels by calculating it’s potential for solar power output. By combining Google Maps’ database of aerial images with the 3D modeling of your roof and the data collected from the surrounding location, like weather, Google can tell if your home is a good place to install solar panels.  First assessing how much shade and how many hours of useable sunlight fall on your roof each day, Google will then tell you how much they would cost to lease, loan or buy your solar panels.  They will even include a list of solar providers in your area. With the extensive database Google has, they have the ability to calculate your potential savings—energy and costs.  Converting to solar power has the potential to pay for itself in five to ten years, let alone way better for the environment than burning fossil fuels and with Project Sunroof there’s little to no guesswork involved.

See https://www.google.com/get/sunroof/about/ for more information.

 

http://www.ecnmag.com/blogs/2015/08/google-can-measure-your-homes-solar-power-potential?et_cid=4758461&et_rid=632144484&type=headline

http://www.altenergy.org/renewables/solar.html