E.ON and Google have teamed up to launch a solar “offensive” in Germany that will help simplify and streamline the process for identifying prime rooftop solar sites.
The duo announced yesterday that Google’s Project Sunroof platform, which uses satellite imagery, 3D modelling and machine learning to assess the solar potential of millions of rooftops, is expanding into Germany.
It marks the first time the tool has been made available outside of the US, where it found that almost 80 per cent of US rooftops are technically viable for generating solar power, rising to 90 per cent in sunnier states.
In Germany Project Sunroof will be able to assess the solar capability of around seven million buildings, covering major urban areas including Munich, Berlin, and the Ruhr region. The platform can help users identify a home’s potential solar capacity by calculating sunlight hours, weather data, roof pitch, and the level of shadows from surrounding buildings. It can also draw up plans for installing a solar system and estimate potential cost savings.
“With Sunroof, we are able to digitise sales of solar systems more intensively and thereby increase the appeal of photovoltaics,” Karen Wildberger, chief operating officer of E.ON, said in a statement. “It clearly demonstrates the potential benefits of digitalization for the ongoing shift in energy production.”
Homeowners that visit E.ON’s solar website to use the Project Sunroof tool will also be able to compile an energy bundle featuring solar PV panels, an Aura battery storage unit, and E.ON’s new Solar Cloud offering. Launched in March, SolarCloud allows E.ON customers with their own PV panels to ‘store’ their power in a virtual electricity account, to be drawn down when needed.
It comes as utilities are increasingly seeking to gain an early mover advantage in the decentralised energy system, which is putting growing numbers of consumers in control of the production and consumption of their energy.
While Project Sunroof will only cover about 40 per cent of the German population initially, Google and E.ON plan to expand it to cover the majority of the population in the coming years.