Find out if solar panels will help you with Google's heat map

Google has rolled out its Project Sunroof tool nationwide. Plug in your address to see if your roof gets enough sunlight to go solar.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops, desktops, all-in-one PCs, streaming devices, streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
2 min read

Google can tell you if your house gets enough sunlight for you to go solar. Google launched Project Sunroof two years ago but it covered only San Francisco, Fresno and Boston. Now, it covers all 50 states, though not every inch of every state.

According to Google, it has analyzed 60 million buildings and determined that 79 percent of rooftops of those buildings get enough sunlight to make solar panels viable. Also, fun fact: Houston has the most solar potential of any US city, followed by Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio and -- surprisingly -- New York.

You probably care less about the solar potential of Jacksonville, FL (number 7 on the list), however, and more about the potential of your own roof. Head to the Project Sunroof website and plug in your address to find out.

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This tool will check your area as well as your roof to determine how much solar energy helps you.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Project Sunroof uses imagery from Google Maps and Google Earth along with 3D modeling of your roof. It also takes into account shadows cast by trees and buildings, the position of the sun in relation to your home throughout the year and historical cloud as well as temperature patterns.

It uses this information to spit out a heat map of your rooftop to show you where your roof gets the most sun. You'll get an estimate of the number of hours of usable sunlight your roof gets, the square footage you have available for solar panels and the amount of money you'll save on your electrical bill over the course of a 20-year lease.

You can fine-tune the estimate by entering your average monthly electric bill to get a cost-benefit analysis for leasing, loaning and purchasing solar panels. Lastly, you'll get a list of the solar providers in your area.