E.ON and Google launch solar offensive

E.ON and Google are entering into a partnership to expand the use of solar energy by developing a platform based on Google Maps and machine learning technology to calculate the solar potential of buildings across Germany. The aim is to extend the platform to other European markets.

E.ON and Google are joining forces to offer the Sunroof platform in Germany – the first time ever that the platform is being used outside of the US.

Using Google Earth, Google Maps, 3D models and machine learning, the Sunroof platform allows homeowners to determine their home’s potential solar capacity simply by entering their address on the website.

By answering a few questions as precisely as possible, Sunroof calculates how much sunlight falls on a roof during the course of a year, taking into account weather data, the position of the sun in different seasons, the area and slope of the roof, as well as shadows from surrounding buildings or trees.

Sunroof then converts the data into the potential cost savings of installing a rooftop solar power system.

The aim of the partnership is to promote the expansion of solar energy in Germany.

“Google has been relying on renewable energy sources for many years in supplying the needs of its own infrastructure and beyond,” Philipp Justus, vice president of Google in Germany and Central Europe, said in a joint statement. “With Sunroof our goal is to encourage more people tapping into the potential found in their own rooftops.”

Around seven million buildings across Germany will be covered by the website, including those in major urban areas like Munich and Berlin. This corresponds to an area covering around 40 per cent of the German population.

In parallel, the partners are examining if the system can be rolled out to other European markets as well.

Sunroof has been in use in the US since 2015, covering some 60 million buildings. On average, nearly 80 per cent of roofs tested proved suitable for solar power.


Image credit: Nick Blackmer, flickr/Creative Commons

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