Google’s Project Sunroof

While more people are becoming familiar with the concept of rooftop solar, they are not as quick to install solar power systems in their homes. It seems to be a complicated process with a steep learning curve – from figuring out how much energy one’s home can produce to finding the right solar power partner.

Google knows this – because these are the kind of questions people enter into its search engine while looking for information around solar power. The rising inclination towards solar-powered homes – and the confusion around it – gave Google engineering lead Carl Elkin the idea for Project Sunroof .

Project Sunroof is a new tool that answers people’s solar energy-related questions with personalized recommendations and suggestions. Users simply need to provide their address and average monthly electric bill, and Project Sunroof uses existing data from Google Earth and Google Maps to determine how much energy a user’s roof receives, how many solar panels they may need, and how much money they could save. As a final step, it also suggests solar power providers within the user’s vicinity that they could get in touch with.

At present, Google is testing Project Sunroof in three cities – Boston, San Francisco and Fresno – with plans to eventually introduce it worldwide.















Watch Introducing Project Sunroof


Google is broadening its environment stewardship and sustainability offer.

As one of the world’s largest and most influential corporations, Google is expected to lead action for some of the most pressing challenges the world faces today, like clean energy. In 2011, Google created a $280 million fund with American solar company SolarCity to support residential solar installations. In 2013, Google financed a part of South Africa’s largest solar power plant.

I’ve always been surprised at how many people I encounter who think that “my roof isn’t sunny enough for solar,” or “solar is just too expensive.” Certainly many of them are missing out on a chance to save money and be green.

Carl Elkin

Engineering Lead for Project Sunroof

With Project Sunroof, Google is simplifying solar power for people, with easy-to-access and relevant, personalized, information. This could significantly help more people determine the potential of solar energy in their own homes.

This post is a part of our People’s Insights monthly brief for August & September, Innovation without Boundaries.

The big question comes down to this – can Google do for solar energy what it did for search engine?

This post is a part of our People’s Insights monthly brief for August & September, Innovation without Boundaries.

Melanie Joe

Melanie Joe

Melanie is Consultant - Research and Insights at MSLGROUP, based in Mumbai. She tracks inspiring initiatives in the digital space for People's Insights.

One Response to “Google’s Project Sunroof”

  1. MSLGROUP Peoples Lab (@PeoplesLab)

    Google is helping homeowners determine the #solar potential of their roofs. #sustainability


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