E.ON and Google are launching partnership to expand solar energy

05/03/17 | Joint Press Release

Digital platform simplifies photovoltaic design for residential buildings

  • Facilitates potential use of solar energy for seven million buildings in Germany
  • Sunroof platform is based on Google Earth, Maps, and machine learning technology is now available for the first time outside the US
  • E.ON and Google plan expansion across Germany

E.ON and Google are launching an offensive on behalf of solar power. Starting now, the two companies will begin jointly offering the Sunroof platform in Germany - for the first time ever outside the US. Around seven million buildings are covered by the website, including those in major urban areas like Munich, Berlin, Rhine-Main and the Ruhr. Using this technology, homeowners can easily and precisely determine their home's potential solar capacity and generate plans for installing a solar system. All they need to do is enter their address online.

E.ON, Google and software producer Tetraeder are joining forces to promote the expansion of solar energy in Germany. The Sunroof website brings together technologies like Google Earth & Maps, 3D models, and machine learning (i.e. automated software optimization) in order to answer inquiries as precisely as possible. Sunroof calculates how much sunlight falls on a roof during the course of a year. It takes into account weather data, the position of the sun in different seasons, the area and slope of the roof as well as shadows from surrounding buildings or trees. Then Sunroof "converts" the data on sunlight into energy and calculates the potential cost savings.

During the platform's launch in Germany, "Sunroof" will be available exclusively at www.eon-solar.de. Interested homeowners not only can determine their solar potential, they can also assemble a suitable all-in-one package consisting of a photovoltaic module, an Aura battery storage unit and E.ON SolarCloud. Moreover, with its "Sunshine Guarantee," E.ON promises that a solar power system will actually produce the returns calculated – and the company provides financial compensation for any shortfall.

"With Sunroof, we are able to digitize sales of solar systems more intensively and thereby increase the appeal of photovoltaics. It clearly demonstrates the potential benefits of digitalization for the ongoing shift in energy production. Along with Sunroof and E.ON SolarCloud, we will be developing additional digital products in order to offer our customers the highest degree of independence and security through E.ON solar systems," says Karsten Wildberger, COO of E.ON.

In the US, Sunroof has been in operation since 2015, covering some 60 million buildings. On average, 79 percent of all roofs tested proved suitable for solar power. Southern states such as Arizona achieved peak values ​​of over 90 percent, but even northern states like Maine achieved values of over 60 percent. This indicates the considerable potential of solar. The rooftops in a city like Houston, Texas, could generate roughly 19,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity each year. That equals to the power requirements of 1.7 million households.

"Google has been relying on renewable energy sources for many years in supplying the needs of its own infrastructure and beyond. With Sunroof our goal is to encourage more people tapping into the potential found in their own rooftops," explains Philipp Justus, Vice President of Google in Germany and Central Europe.

To start, the online tool will cover about 40 percent of the German population. In the medium term, as many German households as possible will be covered. In parallel with this, the partners are examining whether the system can be rolled out to other European markets as well. In addition to "Sunroof", E.ON and Google are also partnering on the development of start-ups as well as in the areas of digital marketing and digital transformation.

About Alphabet / Google:

Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google in September 1998. Since then, the company has grown to over 50,000 employees worldwide, offering a wide range of products and platforms, including Search, Maps, Ads, Gmail, Android, Chrome and YouTube. In October 2015, Alphabet became Google’s parent company. More than 10 years ago, Google installed a company-owned solar system in Mountain View. Since then, the company has been focusing on sustainability and in 2017 will for the first time provide all its electricity needs through renewable energy. Find out more about Alphabet's mission here.

About Tetraeder

Tetraeder.solar GmbH is an international engineering firm based in Dortmund. Tetraeder.solar focuses on the development and application of new technologies for the collection and forecasting of renewable energy capacity and in the development of planning and design software. The company develops its own software and participates in research and development projects. In addition to being a leader in the field of ​​analysis and technology for forecasting potential solar capacity, the company also specializes in high-efficiency processing of large amounts of spacial-related data. Their analyses and expansion forecasts are used both in marketing and sales as well as in network planning.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by E.ON Group Management and other information currently available to E.ON. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. E.ON SE does not intend, and does not assume any liability whatsoever, to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.