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Google's Project Sunroof solar power initiative now available in Germany

Published 05 May 2017

E.on has partnered with Google to bring the US search giant's Sunroof tool to Germany.

Around seven million buildings are covered by the website, including those in major urban areas like Munich, Berlin, Rhine-Main and the Ruhr. Using this technology, homeowners can easily and precisely determine their home's potential solar capacity and generate plans for installing a solar system. All they need to do is enter their address online.

E.ON, Google and software producer Tetraeder are joining forces to promote the expansion of solar energy in Germany. The Sunroof website brings together technologies like Google Earth & Maps, 3D models, and machine learning (i.e. automated software optimization) in order to answer inquiries as precisely as possible.

Sunroof calculates how much sunlight falls on a roof during the course of a year. It takes 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. Then Sunroof "converts" the data on sunlight into energy and calculates the potential cost savings.

During the platform's launch in Germany, "Sunroof" will be available exclusively at www.eon-solar.de. Interested homeowners not only can determine their solar potential, they can also assemble a suitable all-in-one package consisting of a photovoltaic module, an Aura battery storage unit and E.ON SolarCloud. Moreover, with its "Sunshine Guarantee," E.ON promises that a solar power system will actually produce the returns calculated – and the company provides financial compensation for any shortfall.

Karsten Wildberger, COO of E.ON, said: "With Sunroof, we are able to digitize sales of solar systems more intensively and thereby increase the appeal of photovoltaics. It clearly demonstrates the potential benefits of digitalization for the ongoing shift in energy production.

"Along with Sunroof and E.ON SolarCloud, we will be developing additional digital products in order to offer our customers the highest degree of independence and security through E.ON solar systems."

In the US, Sunroof has been in operation since 2015, covering some 60 million buildings. On average, 79 percent of all roofs tested proved suitable for solar power. Southern states such as Arizona achieved peak values ??of over 90 percent, but even northern states like Maine achieved values of over 60 percent. This indicates the considerable potential of solar.

The rooftops in a city like Houston, Texas, could generate roughly 19,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity each year. That equals to the power requirements of 1.7 million households.

"Google has been relying on renewable energy sources for many years in supplying the needs of its own infrastructure and beyond. With Sunroof our goal is to encourage more people tapping into the potential found in their own rooftops," explains Philipp Justus, Vice President of Google in Germany and Central Europe.

To start, the online tool will cover about 40 percent of the German population. In the medium term, as many German households as possible will be covered. In parallel with this, the partners are examining whether the system can be rolled out to other European markets as well.

In addition to "Sunroof", E.ON and Google are also partnering on the development of start-ups as well as in the areas of digital marketing and digital transformation.

Source: Company Press Release