Google Map-Powered Solar API: A New Way to Understand Your Rooftop Solar Potential

google map

In a groundbreaking move, tech giant Google has unveiled plans to offer application programming interfaces (API) datasets designed for the solar industry to empower businesses with comprehensive rooftop solar data. This initiative, known as the Solar API, comprises essential building, rooftop, shading, and solar panel configuration data for over 320 million buildings across 40 countries. The primary objective is accelerating the adoption of clean and renewable solar energy. This article delves into the details of Google Maps’s Solar API and its potential impact on the solar industry.

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Empowering solar businesses

Google has announced that it will sell rooftop solar mapping data to solar marketplace websites, solar installers, software-as-a-service (SaaS) developers, and any user looking to understand the rooftop solar potential of a particular address. The data is available through the Solar API, which contains key building, rooftop, shading, and panel configuration data covering more than 320 million buildings in 40 countries.

Google is well-known in the solar sector for Project Sunroof, a free tool that explains to homeowners how much money they may save on utility bills by installing rooftop solar. The new Solar API builds on years of cooperation with leading business players to create datasets that meet their operational requirements.

google map rooftop analysis

Key features of the Solar API

The Solar API can improve the customer experience for interested property owners, create reliable project proposals without requiring an on-site visit, and expedite the overall installation process.

3D dataset access: The Solar API offers access to 3D datasets for individual building data and aggregated data for entire cities or counties. This feature allows for advanced analysis and planning, enabling businesses to make informed decisions about solar installations.


Building insights endpoint: This endpoint offers detailed information about a building’s location, dimensions, and solar potential. It includes crucial data such as roof size, slope, and estimated energy production from a rooftop solar array. Solar businesses can leverage this information to create accurate project proposals without requiring an on-site visit, streamlining the installation process.

Data_Layers_google map

Data layers endpoint: The Solar API’s endpoint provides granular data on solar-related aspects in the vicinity of a building. This includes shading and obstructions, as well as roof layout details. This data is essential for precise system placement and layout design. SaaS developers can use this data to automate the design of more efficient solar arrays.

The Solar API is a valuable tool for the solar industry and homeowners considering installing rooftop solar. The data can streamline the sales process, reduce costs, and make it easier for homeowners to understand their options.

Imagery data from the Solar API Data Layers endpoint. From top to bottom: Flux map, building mask, digital surface model (DSM) and RGB (aerial photo).

Pilot project user, real-world application: Suncle by TEPCO

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) serves as a pilot project user and customer of the Solar API. TEPCO has utilised the API to create “Suncle,” an online rooftop solar energy simulation tool. Homeowners can input their addresses into Suncle, enabling them to visualise their residences on a map and customise solar installation parameters, including cost estimates, local subsidies, savings projections, and environmental impact assessments. This information, now easily accessible within seconds, eliminates the need for on-site installer visits, simplifying the decision-making process for potential solar adopters.

Masami Jenkins, Director, Environment & Social Business Design Lab, TEPCO says “By inputting an address, homeowners can locate their residence on the map, and adjust their electricity bill and solar installation size as they wish. They can find out installation costs, local subsidies available, cost savings, break even point, and how much impact their solar installation could have on reducing CO2, all in a few seconds. To get these figures without Suncle, they would need to have installers visit their house.”

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How to use the Solar API

To use the Solar API, you must create a Google Cloud Platform account and enable the Solar API. Once you have enabled the API, you can access the data through various programming languages and development platforms.

Google provides many resources to help you get started with the Solar API, including documentation, tutorials, and sample code. You can also find information about the Solar API on the Google Cloud Platform website.

Benefits of the Solar API

The Solar API offers several benefits to solar businesses and homeowners, including:

  • Improved customer experience: Solar businesses can use the API to give customers more accurate and timely information about their rooftop solar potential. This can improve the overall customer experience and lead to more sales.
  • Reduced costs: The API can help solar businesses reduce costs by eliminating the need for on-site visits and streamlining the design and installation process.
  • Increased efficiency: The API can help solar businesses increase their efficiency by automating many of the tasks involved in the sales and installation process.
  • Reduced risk: The API can help solar businesses reduce risk by providing more accurate information about their customers’ rooftop solar potential. This can help to avoid problems such as undersizing or oversizing solar systems.
  • Increased transparency: The API can increase transparency in the solar industry by giving homeowners more information about their options. This can help homeowners make more informed decisions about whether or not to install rooftop solar and which solar company to choose.

Solar API has the potential to revolutionise the way the solar industry operates

Google’s decision to sell rooftop solar mapping data through the Solar API represents a significant step forward for the solar industry. By offering comprehensive and interactive datasets, Google empowers solar businesses to provide better services to customers and streamline the installation process. With the potential to generate substantial revenue and accelerate the adoption of clean energy, the Solar API has the potential to revolutionise the way the solar industry operates, ultimately contributing to a greener and more sustainable future. 

For more information, visit Google’s Solar API webpage and related documentation. A product demo is also available for those interested in exploring its capabilities. Increase your efficiency. If you are a homeowner, the Solar API can help you to make a more informed decision about whether or not to install rooftop solar and which solar company to choose.


Source&Images: Google Maps Platform

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