Google has released an online tool that advises homeowners about how much money they can save by installing solar panels.
The company which funds more than $2 billion in renewable energy projects, can now help you decide whether you should install solar panels to save energy as well as save money.
Titled ‘Project Sunroof’ the tool uses your address to conjure images of your home and the surrounding neighbourhood to calculate how much space you have on your roof for solar panels, as well as the amount of sunlight received each year and depending on that the amount of money you may be able to save.
The Google image of your home appears in an array of colors ranging from purple to yellow, which indicate the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the roof.
Barry Fischer, a Google spokesperson explains, “As Google, we knew we had the expertise to do this well using Google maps and aerial imaging, ‘Project Sunroof’ draws upon the same high-resolution imagery that powers Google Earth.”
While it may not be the pioneer of the solar mapping idea, Google’s tool uses unique machine learning to distinguish a rooftop from nearby, lawns or trees, which according to the team helps to more accurately estimate the solar capacity of a roof by minimising the chances of error.
“Based on our testing, we found that using machine-learning techniques alone helped reduce classification errors by 75 per cent compared to using traditional methods of determining the boundaries of buildings and rooftops,” Fischer said.
Currently available only to the residents of San Francisco Bay Area, Boston, and Fresno, California, Google plans to make the tool more widely available.
“During the coming months we’ll be exploring how to make the tool better and more widely available,” Fischer said.
This article originally appeared on Takepart