Thinking of installing solar panels? Google’s Project Sunroof expands to more states

Google’s Project Sunroof expands to show more states how to save with solar

googles project sunroof expands to more states solar panels installation laptop technician calibration
If you’ve been thinking about soaking up the sun and providing your home with some energy, it won’t be quite as easy as slapping some solar panels on your roof. There are a few things to consider — like whether or not your house even gets enough sunlight to make the investment worth it. Google’s Project Sunroof was designed to give homeowners a quick and easy answer to some of the questions they might have about solar panels, like how much they cost and if installing them will save money.

The tool, which uses Google Earth’s high-resolution aerial mapping technology, launched in August and has now expanded to several more states. Metro areas in California, North Carolina, Nevada, Massachusetts, Arizona, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Colorado are now covered by the service. Most of these states made the Solar Energies Industry Association’s list of the Top 10 Solar States in 2014.

When residents in these states enter their addresses into the tool, it uses data to figure out “how much sunlight your roof gets, the orientation, shade from trees and nearby buildings, and local weather patterns — essentially creating a solar score for every rooftop that it maps,” Carl Elkin, the engineering lead for the project, writes in a blog about the expansion.

I tried it out with my cousin’s address in Phoenix. She gets 2,133 hours of usable sunlight per year (since often-rainy Oregon isn’t covered by the tool, I’ll just have to assume that’s more than Portland), which makes her seem like a good candidate for solar.

The tool also shows how much money she’ll save, depending on whether she leases or buys the panels, or if she takes out a loan to cover the cost. Putting up the estimated $11,000 (after incentives) will end up saving her about $11,000 over 20 years. Leasing will only save her $1,000 over the same time period, though she wouldn’t have to pay anything up front. Of course, for a lot of people, the benefits of going solar aren’t all about the savings.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Home Theater

The seven best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2019.
Mobile

Keep up-to-date with the best news apps on iPhone and Android

Are the days of traditional newspapers and broadcast news dwindling? With apps this good, maybe. Catch up on the latest headlines on any platform with the best news apps on iOS and Android.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Smart Home

Booth babes, banned sex toys, and other mishaps at CES 2019

From female sex toys bans, to fake Tesla/robot collision stories, there was some weird stuff going on at CES 2019 this year. Here are some of the biggest mishaps and flubs at the world's biggest tech show.
Smart Home

LaMetric teased Sky, an upcoming app-controlled mosaic light panel, at CES 2019

Smart home startup LaMetric put a light in the eyes of guests at this year's CES 2019 with a prototype of a coming product called LaMetric Sky which uses multi-colored LED panels to form app-controlled artwork.
Smart Home

Military-grade baby monitor called Miku was a hit with parents at CES 2019

Who knew the world needed a smarter baby monitor? Apparently it's the startup Miku, which brought a new high-tech baby monitor to CES 2019 that uses A.I., machine learning, and high quality cameras to keep an eye on kids.
Smart Home

PicoBrew launches professional-grade brewing appliances, new distiller at CES

PicoBrew has been a leader in the home brewing industry for years, but at CES 2019 the company went pro with the Z Series, a new line of professional-grade brewing appliances aimed at craft breweries and restaurants.
Smart Home

IKEA’s new blinds for the smart home arrive April 1 in the U.S.

The Swedish furniture giant IKEA is adding a new product called FYRTUR, which turns out to be a new set of blackout blinds for the smart home that can be controlled by remote or programmed through the company's app.
Smart Home

Haier’s shoe washer cleans sneakers without all the clanging and banging

At CES 2019, Haier brought a bunch of shoe-centric appliances, including its sneaker washer. The appliance douses shoes with water and detergent and scrubs them, and then you can put them in the accompanying dryer.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Smart Home

A.I.’s humorous side: Here are the funniest things to ask Alexa

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant has a wide repertoire of funny responses, jokes, and hidden replies that you can have fun with. Here are the best funny things to ask Alexa and examples of what her responses are.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.