Google’s Project Sunroof Looks to Make Solar Panel Shopping Easier

Screenshot (3)It can sometimes be a bit difficult finding good information on installing solar panels. Google’s Project Sunroof hopes to make the process a bit easier.

Utilizing their mapping data, and monitoring trends from homes with panels already installed, Google will be creating a database for home owners to search. Answering questions like how much sun a roof might receive, what options they have for installation in their area, and what the costs versus savings might look like.

The project is only currently supporting three cities, Boston, San Francisco, and Fresno, but knowing Google’s ability to traffic this kind of data, I would imagine the project will grow quickly. How do you not easily add a city like Phoenix or Albuquerque right?

Hit the Project Sunroof site for more info.

Wind was Main Source of Power in Spain over 2013

800px-GreenMountainWindFarm_Fluvanna_2004I was going to make a “Rain in Spain Falls mainly on the Plains” joke, but I couldn’t quite make it work. As it stands, those plains are now probably dotted with giant windmills.

A first for Spain, and for any country, as most of their power over 2013 was generated by wind. Unseating Nuclear, Spain generated 20.9% of their electricity using wind farms. Quite an accomplishment. Even more exciting knowing that renewable energy, including tidal generators and solar, made up almost 45% of Spain’s power, taking pressure off of Nuclear and Coal fire plants.

Definitely something worth examining here stateside, as distributing our energy policy could stand to make local communities a lot of money while being better for the environment. We’re still toying with solar in the southwest, but recently Texas has been on a wind kick, and throughout the MidWest wind is starting to rival the cost effectiveness of coal even though it lacks the subsidies.

Red Eléctrica de España has a pretty cool site tracking daily energy usage, and how much of that demand is being met by renewables.

IKEA to start selling Solar Panels in the UK – Weird Little Wrenches Included

solar panelsOk. I don’t actually know if those awkward little hex wrenches will be needed to install these panels on your home.

IKEA will soon begin offering solar panels at stores in Great Britain as a test market to see if this program can be expanded worldwide.  Great Britain was selected as it offers a good balance of energy pricing and state programs designed to offer consumers incentives when investing in solar.

Manufactured by the Chinese company Hanergy, the panels being offered will cost around $9200 for a 3.36 Kilowatt system, and IKEA estimates that it should take around seven years to pay them off. During that time, consumers should enjoy reduced energy pricing. In select markets, where IKEA can offer those services, any excess energy created might be able to feed back into the local energy grid. Depending on market pricing (which I’m sure will drop quickly if many people start producing excess power) you could even turn a profit faster than seven years.

While other big box consumer home improvement companies have offered panels before, IKEA looks to be taking a slightly more proactive approach to aiding consumers in the consultation and installation of their products.  That, and you can get some delicious meatballs while shopping for those panels. Lowes and Home Depot should really look at partnering up with some gourmet food trucks…

(via AP)