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Google's Project Sun Roof Tool

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*Ariel View of Viable Roof-Top Solar Homes

Google has become synonymous with the Information Age, and as the company continues to grow, it sets the bar for corporate renewable energy reliance higher and higher. Google’s Project Sun Roof is a great tool for homeowners to not only read about current solar trends, and future projections. With the Data Explorer Tool, homeowners can put in their city to get an overview on their area to see if their roof would be a good match for solar. It also offers a tool to calculate your potential energy savings, which can serve as a great motivator for homeowners to begin looking into renewable energy. Google’s tool analyzes roof tops to get an overview on which roofs are viable for solar. Their current analysis shows that 79% of roof tops in the United States are a good match for solar. This is very exciting news, and even more exciting is the fact that Google’s tool does not account for shaded roofs, which may be a good match for a microinverter or inverter with optimizer system. It also does not account for the potential for homeowners to use a ground mount system if their roof is overly shaded, or not at the correct angle. This means that the potential for solar is most likely higher than the already high percentage analyzed and reported by Google.

Take into account their finding that 90% of all the homes in Hawaii, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico are viable for solar. If the remaining 10% of homeowners have a portion of land to put in a ground mount system, can trim back roofs, or would be a good match for microinverters or optimizers. That number could easily raise to 100%. With all the options available to homeowners not in ideal conditions, Google’s projections, though high, may be conservative. Even states like Pennsylvania, Maine and Minnesota, which typically have harsh winters, reports 60% of homes are viable for a solar array. Texas, reportedly has the highest potential out of any of the other states. See the chart below to see the top 10 states with the highest potential solar energy. Seeing the wide spread opportunity for renewables certainly has not gone unnoticed as the Lone Star state has begun to add more renewable energy incentives over the years. This is great news, as the amount of solar energy that falls on Texas in one day is more than all utility companies combined put out in an entire year. The potential of Texas outpacing California in solar output is possible, and progress towards at least partial renewable energy reliance should be attained over the next five years.

Finally, Google reports that it is set to reach its goal of 100% reliance on renewable energy sources globally by the end of this year for both its data resource centers and offices. Given the size of the company, this is a huge endeavor, and Google certainly earns its rankings amongst the top of corporate solar installation, and forward thinking when it comes to renewable energy. Though they have always been ahead of competitors like Apple in the solar energy sector, they are setting the standard so high that we believe that other corporations will continue to follow suit.

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