Gadgets

Google Maps Is So Clever It Can Tell You How To Cut Your Energy Bills

We really need to sort out our energy consumption. We've already used up our yearly allocation of natural resources for this year, and it's only going to get worse.

A good place to start would probably be making use of the energy that's already being beamed to us over several million kilometres - solar energy. But it's a fiddle to figure out; from calculating whether you'd make a saving, to working out if your roof actually gathers enough sunlight to bother with the installation.

Which is where Google comes in. Their Map engineers are launching Project Sunroof, which hopes to chart the planet’s solar potential. 

"Project Sunroof uses information that’s in Google Maps to figure out how much sun falls on a roof and takes into account stuff like the angle of the roof, the weather, and obstructions like trees and chimneys," explains Google. "Then it uses those measurements to figure out how many panels you’d probably need and how much you could save on your electric bill, including solar incentives in your area."

Now, there's a significant caveat to all this - Project Sunroof is currently limited to three US locations: Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Fresno. Yes, that's annoying (almost as annoying as a lack of Google Fibre in the UK), but it's a good indication of just how Alphabet (Google's new parent company) is looking to expand its empire.

So, when it finally does arrive in the UK, you'll be able to confirm what you probably already know: Britain isn't very sunny.