Of all the cities in the US Houston has the most untapped potential for rooftop solar power. When Google announced the expansion of its Project Sunroof last week it estimated that the city could produce 18,940 gigawatt-hours of electricity via its untapped rooftops. As such it has a better opportunity to increase locally produced energy than other cities in the US, including Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio, and New York.
The company singled out 10 cities across the US as ideal locations for rooftop solar power. “If the top ten cities…reached their full rooftop solar potential, they'd produce enough energy to power 8 million homes across the US,” wrote Google’s Joel Conkling, who manages the project.
The project aims to help expand the use of solar power across the US harnessing its satellite imagery through Google Maps and Google Earth. When the IT company originally unveiled Project Sunroof, it only covered a small handful of locations across the country. The project offers tools like those offered by SolarReviews.com and its sister site Solar-Estimate.org and developed with the Department of Energy, which estimate the amount of energy a rooftop can provide. The tools offered by SolarReviews.com and its sister site also shows homeowners how much energy their system could produce, what incentives they can qualify for and how much they can save. They also connect homeowners with installers and allows them to check out how customers have ranked their solar installations.
The tools from Google use its imagery and 3D modeling as well as machine learning to show similar data. With the expansion of the project, Conkling said Google has analyzed approximately 60 million buildings across the US and found some interesting things in the process. For instance, he said, “Seventy-nine percent of all rooftops analyzed are technically viable for solar, meaning those rooftops have enough unshaded area for solar panels.”Tweet