Google Helps Estimate Solar Power Potential and Cost with its Project Sunroof

Project Sunroof

If you have always wanted solar power for your home and if you have been in the dark about what to do, Google’s Project Sunroof might be the answer you are looking for.

Project Sunroof is a tool created by Google to help you determine your home’s solar power potential and the costs involved. Project Sunroof combines a variety of information: details about your home from Google Maps, nearby solar power providers and local weather conditions to advise you on whether your home is suitable for setting up solar panels to harness solar energy.

Carl Elkin, the Google engineer, is the brain behind Project Sunroof. He created this tool when he was using the 20% time that is allocated by the company for all its employees to pursue his/her side projects besides their regular job. The project is expected to begin in a small form and at present will be available only in three cities including Fresno, Boston and San Francisco. Fresno was apparently chosen because the mother of one of the engineers of the project lives there.

The cost savings from using solar power in a San Francisco home is estimated like this: If you were to invest $91 every month to lease out solar panels for your home in San Francisco, you could save $14,000 over the next two decades. This amount would be about a month’s rent for a walk-in closet in that city.

Using information about the local weather conditions, it is possible to arrive at the number of hours of sunlight you receive every day, after taking into account other factors, including your roof’s angular projections, potential inhibitors of sunlight like trees and/or perhaps a neighbor’s house and seasonal changes. Using the above ‘annual sunlight’ information and the image of your roof from Google Maps, Project Sunroof will be able to give you an estimate of how much of your roof should be covered in solar panels for optimum solar power harnessing.

It is recommended that power generated from the solar panels be less than what you really use as there seems to be no financial leverage or ways of storing or using the excess power generated. The residents of the three cities are invited to key in their home addresses in to the Project Sunroof tool. The results as explained above will be displayed for your home, and along with it, the addresses of the solar power providers in the locality will also be available at the end of the page. Project Sunroof is seen as an excellent marketing/advertising tool for solar power installers and providers especially when it is launched across the globe.

Rapper Akon Aims to Use Solar Power to Support African Kids’ Education

With an aim to help the less fortunate children in Africa, rapper Akon has announced that he has planned to commence a new project which will aim to add solar power to help introduce electronic devices in schools.

The music artist has been focusing on helping people in the African continent switch to electricity for many years now. He is a popular hip hop and R&B artist in the United States who has earned a great fortune, but he’s always on the move with new entrepreneurial ideas. A majority of them are geared towards Africa and the 600 million people who thrive in the locality with the help of a candle light.

In the modern era, when the majority of the world has access to smartphones, tablets and uninterrupted internet, there are still parts of the continent that are hardly embraced by technology. Technology firms like Google and Facebook have been doing their part to help the people overcome the hurdles while individuals like Akon have been doing everything on their part to boost the economy.

A country’s growth depends on its younger generation, Akon said in an earlier interview. He initiated the Akon Lighting Africa program which uses solar power to bring light to the 600 million population and has already witnessed phenomenal achievements. Over 14 countries have benefited through the system which has supplied charging stations, home kits and micro generators to bring electricity. A lot of solar street lamps are also setup in specific locations to make easier for the residents to commute at night.

According to a report by PC Tech, Akon wanted to expand the solar power distribution further so that it not only powers televisions and refrigerators, but also computers to allow the children to experience better education. The music artist has personally experienced the situation in Africa as he lived in West Africa till the age of 7 before moving to the United States.

“We have already visited some of the locations where solar power will be used and new smart schools will be setup. Our team has created an outline for the project. The idea is to use solar power in education. However, our main goal is to bring electrification first before promoting education to the darkest corners of the country”, he said.

In his generous motive, Akon is also joined by two individuals named Thione Niang and Samba Bathily. He did a road show earlier visiting important cities in Africa to understand the situation and come up with feasible solutions.