Google boosts solar energy with new Project Sunroof endeavor
Renewable energy has been seeing strong support from some of the tech industry’s most notable major players. Microsoft has been investing heavily into wind power recently, and now it seems that Google is taking a keen interest in solar power. In particular, the sprawling tech company is interested in helping individuals and businesses realize their renewable energy goals a reality through the launch of a new online tool called Project Sunroof.
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The new tool, launched this Monday, aims to help consumers determine whether or not investing in solar panel installation to harvest solar energy for personal or business use makes practical sense their location and available space. Once users provide an address for their home or business, Google can compile and analyze data from Google Maps and other relevant data bases on subjects like historical cloud and temperature patterns in your area and how much light can be expected to hit your house over the course of a year.
If it turns out that it’s worth the effort, then Project Sunroof can supply users with the information they need on everything from the proper installation size needed to rebates and tax credits to help make the technology affordable.
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“As the price of installing solar has gotten less expensive, more homeowners are turning to it as a possible option for decreasing their energy bill,” reads the new project’s website. “We want to make installing solar panels easy and understandable for anyone. Project Sunroof puts Google's expansive data in mapping and computing resources to use, helping calculate the best solar plan for you.”
So far the initiative has gone live on the West Coast in California’s San Francisco Bay Area and Fresno, as well as across the country in the greater Boston area in Massachusetts. But based on the success on these initial markets, Google could be taking its project nationwide before long.
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This is far from Google's first investment in the solar power industry—the company has been partnering heavily with SolarCity to provide more opportunities for switching to solar energy on an individual and commercial level. This could be one more way to make going solar more convenient, and to persuade consumers who may be on the fence about going solar but could be convinced by the name recognition and support of a major brand like Google. It may entice more families and businesses to try solar, and that's a good thing for Google and a good thing for the solar industry on the whole.
[SOURCE: NBC News]
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.