Homeowners tired of sky-high utility bills and wanting to take advantage of solar energy tax credits, often wonder whether solar panels are the answer to reducing their energy costs. Last year, Google developed Project Sunroof which leverages geographic data to help homeowners quickly determine whether their property is a viable candidate for solar panels. The new tool is helpful for homeowners in the early stages of the solar research phase while also providing a source of lead generation for solar companies. While convenient and beneficial for consumers to gain an initial understanding, generating leads for solar companies is only part of the equation when calculating the opportunity for solar companies to turn a lead into a customer. Additional data is needed to ensure the right solar solution is installed on the right roofs. Let’s take a look at what Project Sunroof does well for both consumers and solar companies, and what DataTree can bring to the mix for data-driven solar panel sales and installation decision-making.
How Project Sunroof Helps Homeowners
Launched as a 20 Percent Project (where Google employees spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google) by Google engineer Carl Elkin, Project Sunroof uses data from Google maps and other data to help homeowners determine whether solar panels are a fit for their home. Additionally, it estimates the cost savings of going solar.
Homeowners wanting to check whether solar panels will work for their home is as easy as visiting Project Sunroof and entering an address. The tool searches the database and delivers (if available) the estimated number of usable sunlight hours per year, the square footage available for solar panels, and the estimated net savings of a standard 20-year lease on solar panels. Homeowners can also use a slider to indicate their average monthly utility bill and receive a recommendation in kilowatts and square footage of panels to install to cover expenses.
Homeowners can explore the initial costs, average yearly savings, and total 20-year savings of a lease, loan or a purchase of the solar panels. Since the tool shows cost savings vs. expenses, it can help customers who may not have ideal sun exposure realize they are not a good candidate for solar panels while reducing the amount of time solar installers spend providing service quotes to homes that have insufficient sun exposure.
While the data supplied by Project Sunroof brings new transparency and insight to consumers exploring their solar options, it only tells part of the story for solar companies. Solar companies need more data, to verify homeowner, property and mortgage information to ensure a financial fit for solar. This is where DataTree by First American provides the insight that solar companies need.
DataTree The Solar Company Companion to Google Sunroof
Solar companies can rely on DataTree to provide the needed property-centric insight through instant, online access to property, home ownership and mortgage information. DataTree covers 99 percent of U.S. housing stock, so it can return information where Project Sunroof cannot.
For example, DataTree provides detailed mortgage information that solar companies can leverage to reach out to homeowners with positive equity, greatly improving the quality of leads.
DataTree also provides an integrated map, enabling solar professionals to fly over roofs and show the building square footage, estimated value and more, right on the map. Plus, with over 5.5 billion recorded land document images, you can find the information needed to assist in your solar decision making process.
Both DataTree and Project Sunroof are easy to use and deliver actionable data that can help solar companies maximize lead opportunities and help home owners educate themselves about solar panels installation, cost, and advantages. For solar companies, DataTree is the actionable advantage. Make 2016 a little sunnier with your DataTree free trial.
Note: DataTree and First American are not affiliated with Google Project Sunroof project in anyway. This blog post represents the opinion of the writer that using Google Project Sunroof along with DataTree.com is a potential benefit to solar companies.