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Google expands Project Sunroof ‘solar power potential’ program beyond the U.S. and into Germany



Google is expanding its Project Sunroof program beyond the U.S. for the first time, and will now assess the potential for solar power energy in homes across Germany too.

First introduced back in 2015, Project Sunroof is effectively a search engine that lets anyone look up a specific address to discover the potential for solar energy collection in any home. After a gradual rollout across the U.S., the web service finally landed in all 50 U.S. states back in March.

By meshing together data from Google Maps andGoogle Earth, Google uses 3D models and machine learning to estimate whether the position and location of a house has the potential to collect solar energy, and thus whether it’s a worthy investment from a homeowner. It looks at how much sun hits a roof and the position of the roof, while also looking at historical weather data, shading from nearby objects, and the position of the sun at different times of the year.

Above: Project Sunroof

For the Germany launch of Project Sunroof, Google has partnered with E.ON and a software company Tetraeder, and Google said that roughly seven million German homes are currently covered by the program. Moving forward, Project Sunroof data will be integrated with E.ON’s website from today, allowing consumers to find out whether their home has solar potential, while also purchasing the necessary equipment to make it happen.

Google has long touted its green credentials, and recently revealed that it expected to reach 100 percent renewable energy for its global operations in 2017.

 

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My name is Ms A C Kennedy and I am a Health practitioner and Consultant by day and a serial blogger by night. I luv family, life and learning new things. I especially luv learning how to improve my business. I also luv helping and sharing my information with others. Don't forget to ask me anything!

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UK drone rules will require you to take safety tests

UK drone rules will require you to take safety tests

US officials might be easing up on drone regulations, but their UK counterparts are pushing forward. The British government has instituted rules that require you to not only register any robotic aircraft weighing over 250g (0.55lbs), but to take a "safety awareness" test to prove you understand the drone code. Regulators hope that this will lead to fewer drones flying over airports and otherwise causing havoc in British skies. Not that they're taking any chances -- the UK is also planning wider use of geofencing to prevent drones from flying into dangerous airspace.

The new rules come following a study highlighting the dangers of wayward drones. A smaller drone isn't necessarily safer than its larger alternatives, for example -- many of those more compact models have exposed rotors that can do a lot of damage. A drone weighing around 400 g (0.88lbs) can crack the windscreen of a helicopter, while all but the heaviest drones will have trouble cracking the windscreen of an airliner (and then only at speeds you'd expect beyond the airport). While you might not cause as much chaos as some have feared, you could still create a disaster using a compact drone.

It's nothing new to register drones, of course, and it doesn't appear to have dampened enthusiasm in the US. The test adds a wrinkle, though: how willing are you to buy a drone if you know you'll have to take a quiz? The test likely won't slow sales too much, if at all, but it could give people one more reason to pause before buying a drone on impulse. Manufacturers appear to be in favor of the new rulebook, at any rate -- DJI tells the BBC that the UK is striving for a "reasonable" solution that balances safety with a recognition of the advantages that drones can bring to public life.

Source: Gov.uk (1), (2)

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