If you've ever thought about installing solar panels but aren't sure about whether or not it will be a worthwhile investment for where you live, Google's got you covered with a new project called the Project Sunroof Data Explorer. Getting right to the core of the matter, Project Sunroof makes use of data collected from both Google Maps and Google Earth. It analyzes all of that data using machine learning to provide estimates of how much solar energy collection is going on in a given area at a street level. Google says the goal of its program is to entice more people to get involved in expanding the use of environmentally friendly and sustainable energy sources. It is based on the idea that more will do it if they can get a better idea of how well it works in their area and just how many others around them are already taking advantage of the technology.
To be clear, Project Sunroof is still a work in progress. Google says it has trained its AI to "automatically find and identify installations" in the high-detail images collected by Google's satellites -which is what are also used in Maps and Earth. It is currently able to pick out both the more standard photovoltaic panels and solar hot water heaters with some degree of accuracy. The company claims it has already successfully identified more than 700,000 installations, as of this writing, and that the plan is to continue getting more accurate over time. One great thing about the current standing of the project, if the associated imagery is anything to go by, is that the program is set up to provide a general idea of how much sunlight a given roof gets as well as the average sunlight for a given area. Better still, Project Sunroof appears to also be designed to give accurate estimates pertaining to the efficiency of the panels identified.
Whether or not Google can accomplish its goal or even make a meaningful impact on the intended industry is something that, as with many of the company's side projects, remains to be seen. That said, it's always good to see that corporations like the search giant are willing to take on so many issues head-on. If you're interested, you can check out more details at the source link below.