Here Comes the Sun: Project Sunroof Shows Your Potential

Here Comes the Sun: Project Sunroof Shows Your Potential

When you think of Google, you probably think of searching the internet for those random questions that pop into your head throughout the day. Or maybe email, chat, mapping directions, document collaboration or one of a dozen other ubiquitous products the company is known for.

But Google is also an advocate for clean, renewable energy and just so happens to be the world’s largest corporate purchaser of clean energy. The company launched Project Sunroof last August in three metro areas — San Francisco, Fresno and  Boston — calling it “a kind of treasure map of solar energy.”

In January, Project Sunroof expanded to 20 additional metros in California, Massachusetts, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Connecticut, Colorado and North Carolina. Now the tool is available in 42 states. (Sorry, Texas, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Idaho, South Dakota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alaska and the District of Columbia!)

Project Sunroof is a tool that allows users to enter their address to get an estimate of how much they could save by installing solar power on their home. Users can toggle through average monthly utility bill amounts and different financing options to come up with what works best for their home.

To determine costs and potential savings, Google calculates the cost to lease, finance (loan), or buy solar panels based on current solar industry pricing data. Then it makes a recommendations for what’s best. Google compiles info on federal and state tax credits, utility rebates, renewable energy credits and net metering to come up with the savings estimates.

The tool tabulates your solar potential by estimating how much sunroof your rooftop receives each year thanks to Google’s extensive mapping technology and data resources. It uses:

  • Google’s database of aerial imagery and maps
  • 3D modeling of your roof
  • Shadows cast by nearby structures and trees
  • All possible sun positions over the course of a year
  • Historical cloud and temperature patterns that might affect solar energy production

Alabama is behind the times when it comes to offering incentives to residential power customers to switch to clean energy like solar. Even though we rank in the top 20 for potential solar capacity we lag behind on solar installations and even further behind when it comes to solar jobs. (Last year we ranked a dismal 49th.)

The good news is we have tools and information available to you for free on our SolarWorks website. Get educated and to become an engaged advocate for clean energy here in Alabama! And if you want to go a step further, join Gasp as a member today!

Join Today!

2013 Blount County Solar Home Tour

Registration for Blount County Solar Home Tour, presented by Energize Alabama, is currently open! The tour is slated for 9 a.m. or 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5  and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6. The 3–4 hour tour takes you to four solar houses plus an optional bonus home. A brown bag lunch discussion and a film are included in this free event.

Among the four unique designs on the tour are one home constructed from straw bale and another built underground. Come early to see other items of interest, such as organic gardens, vermi-composting, rain water catchment, grey water, solar dehydrator and a solar oven.

This event, as we mentioned above, is free. It’s a great way opportunity to learn about using solar energy to power your home. Solar is much, much cleaner than energy created from burning fossil fuels, and is therefore much better for the air we all breathe (i.e., our health).

Other points of interest from Energize Alabama:

  • Dress comfortably and bring water to drink.
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes for about a mile walk. Arrangements can be made for those unable to walk that distance. Two of the houses are fairly wheel-chair friendly.
  • There will be a brown bag lunch discussion at noon on Saturday. All are welcome to stay after the Saturday morning tour or come early before the afternoon tour. Bring your lunch and join us. We will provide lemonade. At 1 p.m. the film “Kilowatt Ours” will be shown. (The same film will be shown at 1 pm. Sunday as well.)

Questions? Call Lacey @ 205-215-6133 or email For general information on all National Solar Tours go to: – click on “National Solar Tour”

How to Register:

To register, copy and paste the following and email your responses to

Preferred Tour time: ( ) Saturday 9 am, ( ) Saturday 2 pm, or ( ) Sunday 2 pm
( ) Yes, we plan to be there for noon lunch, film and discussions on Saturday. We provide lemonade; bring your own lunch.
( ) Yes, we plan to arrive at 1 pm on Sunday to see the film. Solar Tour provides lemonade.
( ) Yes, we plan to visit the Lyles-Trescott house ( ) Saturday 11 am, ( ) Saturday 2 pm or ( ) Sunday at noon.

  • Number of people in your party:
  • Name of contact person:
  • Phone number:
  • City/town: County: State:
  • How did you learn about us?
  • The American Solar Energy Society will send an email evaluation survey after the tour.

May we share your email address with the ASES for this purpose? ( ) yes ( ) no

Confirmation and directions to the tour site will be sent upon registration.