Tech giant Google has always strived to be ahead of the curve when it comes to the environment and has made no secret of its plans to run solely on renewable energy.

The Mountain View innovator also has plans to share the renewable love as it’s improving and extending the reach of its interactive Sunroof Map. This map uses data from Maps and Earth to determine how much sunshine a surface gets each year so that people in the UK and eventually Australia will be able to find out of going solar is worth it for them.

The US already has it

Last year Google extended the US version of Sunroof to include all its states, which meant that the solar generation potential for more than 60 million buildings was laid out bare for all to see (and hopefully, turn into a reality).

Google first launched the Sunroof initiative back in 2015 and the map uses the visual data to create 3D virtual models of your building’s surfaces and how much sunlight gets to your roof.

It’s a very accurate estimate, too, as the map even takes into account things like weather patterns, the angle that the sun hits your surfaces at different times of the year and obstructions like neighbouring buildings and overhanging trees.

Encouraging news

All this model-making and research has produced some good tidings for the US and its solar plans. Apparently, Google says, Sunroof has found that nearly 80% of all the rooftops it’s looked at so far are viable for a solar installation. This means that they have enough of an unshaded area to make the solar panels worth the investment. Even if you find you’re in the 20% that aren’t, you may be able to remedy this by cutting back a tall tree.

At present, Sunroof is only available in the US, but Google is rolling it out in the UK (one does have to wonder why, but there you go…) and we can expect it to come to Oz before much longer!