Image: Total

An AI solar mapper tool has been developed by Total and Google Cloud for estimating the energy potential of residential and business rooftops.

The Solar Mapper tool draws on new artificial intelligence algorithms, which are anticipated to provide better results than current tools.

Areas of improvement envisaged include the quality of the data extracted from satellite images, the sharpness of the estimation of the solar potential and the relevance of the technology to be installed.

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The aim of the tool is to accelerate the deployment of solar PV by providing an accurate and rapid estimate of the solar energy potential of rooftops. Initially the focus is Europe, with later expansion worldwide.

The first version of the tool is targeted to homes but Total also intends to develop a B2B version to cover industrial and commercial buildings.

“Solar Mapper will enable Total to faster deploy solar panels on the houses’ roofs, in order to provide its customers with more affordable and more accessible solar energy,” said Marie-Noëlle Séméria, Total’s chief technology officer. “By combining Total’s expertise in solar energy with Google Cloud’s expertise in artificial intelligence and databases, we were able to develop an attractive and innovative offer together in just 6 months.”

The global geographical coverage of the tool is also expected to lead to improvements. For example, in the case of France, Total’s home market, the Solar Mapper provides more than 90% geographical coverage.

The tool is not Google’s first foray into solar estimation. The company launched its own tool, Google Sunroof, covering the US market in 2015 and has later expanded it to other markets such as Germany and UK.

However, unlike Sunroof which can be accessed online enabling householders to make their own estimates, Total’s tool is not available, at least yet.

The Solar Mapper clearly marks a further move to grow Total’s ambitions in renewable energies and according to the statement contributes to its 2050 net zero emission target to which it committed in May.