Solar competition: Google’s “Project Sunroof” vs. Mapdwell

Mapdwell, an MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) spinoff, has launched Solar System San Francisco, a solar mapping system that provides detailed, accurate information to more 800,000 businesses and homeowners to help them visualize their solar opportunities — and take action.

Credit: MIT

Solar System San Francisco provides the community with a model for crowdsourcing the clean energy economy and creating value through distributed generation. The technology reveals 3 GW of high-yield photovoltaic potential that could deliver almost 4 million MWh per year.

“San Francisco’s 160,000 roofs can power 380,000 American homes with energy from the sun, making San Francisco our brightest project so far,” said Eduardo Berlin, CEO, Mapdwell. “This is an $11 billion opportunity for California’s clean energy industry, which could offset carbon emissions equivalent to planting 65 million trees.”

 The clean tech spin-off was founded in 2013 out of a public-private-academic partnership centered on providing information at the consumer level to drive collective sustainability. This launch builds upon Mapdwell’s innovative model: to visualize hidden opportunity for wealth and well-being for everyone, everywhere by mapping a sustainable world.

Mapdwell was one of 15 high-impact, early stage companies at the 2013 SXSW Eco Startup Springboard. Solar System was showcased by Wired Magazine as one of “The Most Amazing, Beautiful and Viral Maps of 2013” and won one of Fast Company’s 2014 Innovation by Design Awards, alongside Reebok, Nike, Disney and others. Further, Mapdwell is one of the 2015 Sustainia100 solutions for a sustainable world.

That’s an impressive resume, but MIT’s got some major competition: Google — who recently released strikingly similar “Project Rooftop,” which also claims to be the first, best, most comprehensive (pick an adjective) solar mapping tool that allows everyone under the sun to understand their solar potential — and take advantage of it — regardless of how much sunlight their roof gets.

In fact, the MIT technology combines Google Maps, solar power data and smart algorithms to calculate the costs and benefits of installing solar panels, offering a detailed cost/benefit analysis that includes comprehensive financial, technical and environmental metrics.

Of the two powerhouses, it would appear that MIT has the edge geographically. Google’s Project Sunroof is currently being used in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno, California, and Greater Boston. In addition to San Francisco, MIT’s Solar System is available in Boston, New York City, DC, Boulder, Washington County in Oregon, Wellfleet, and internationally.

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