You can put solar panels pretty much anywhere, but in order to maximize efficiency you’ll need to do a bit of research and actually put some thought into it. This is where Google thinks it can be of assistance. Using its vast wealth of map data, the company wants to help find the best places to put solar panels in order to ensure they’re receiving as much sunlight as possible through Project Sunroof.
Although many have become accustomed to turning to Google for answers to nearly everything, when it comes to the personalized solar power solutions, answers can still be hard to find. To that end, Google has decided to create what amounts to a solar energy optimization map. It’s called Project Sunroof, and it can tell you where to find the best places in a city to gather solar energy from roof-mounted solar panels. The search engine comes up with results by combining aerial and map data. It uses Google Maps, 3D modeling of roof structures, historical cloud and temperature patterns that could impact solar energy generation as well as shadows cast by surrounding buildings and trees. When you plug an address into the search page, you’ll see a map of the roof areas with the most shade or sun exposure. You also get a listing of how much usable sunlight per year the roof could provide, as well as the available square footage available on that roof for solar panels.