A screenshot from Project Sunroof shows the map data being offered by the pilot project, which aims to help consumers plan solar installations for their homes.
Googling plans to license new sets of map data to a range of companies to use in building products around renewable energy, and hopes to generate up to $100 million in its first year, CNBC has learned.
The company plans to sell access to new APIs (application programming interfaces) with solar and energy information and air quality, according to materials viewed by CNBC.
One of the new offerings will be a Solar API, which could be used by solar energy installers SunRun And Tesla Energy and solar design companies love it Aurora Solar, according to a list of sample customers viewed by CNBC. Google also sees customer opportunities with real estate companies such as Zillow, Redfincatering companies love Marriott Bonvoyand utilities such as PG&E.
Some of the Solar API’s data will come from a consumer-facing pilot called Project Sunroof, a solar savings calculator that originally launched in 2015. The program allows users to enter their address and receive estimated solar costs, such as electricity bill savings and the size of solar installation they need. It also offers 3D modeling of building roofs and nearby trees based on Google Maps data.
Google plans to sell API access to individual building data, as well as aggregated data for all buildings in a given city or state, a document said. The company says it has records on more than 350 million buildings, significantly more than the 60 million buildings it cited for Project Sunroof in 2017, according to documents.
One internal document estimates that the company’s solar APIs will generate revenue between $90 and $100 million in the first year after launch. There is also an opportunity to connect to Google Cloud products in the future, the documents said.
As part of the planned launch, the company also plans to announce an Air Quality API that will allow customers to query air quality data such as pollutants and health-based recommendations for specific locations. It also includes digital heat maps of hourly air quality data and information, as well as an air quality history of up to 30 days.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The latest revenue stream comes as the company tries to monetize its card products as it faces pressure to generate revenue amid a broader economic slowdown. As the company focuses on becoming more efficient, it is also investing in newer technologies such as generative AI and sustainability – a market it hopes to capitalize on with the Solar API.
The company is currently licensing its navigation mapping API to companies such as Uber, who said it paid Google $58 million in those years in 2019. The revenue from the Maps API will go to the company’s cloud segment, which finally turned profitable in the first quarter but has had a rough road in its attempts to compete with industry leaders Amazon and Microsoft.
Google doesn’t disclose how much its Maps business earns, but it’s historically been one of Google’s most under-revenue products, Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak told CNBC in 2021. At the time, Morgan Stanley had estimated that Google Maps would make $11.1. billion by this year, as new travel products and promoted Pins began to boost ad revenue.
The move also comes as the company tries to streamline its card products. In June, CNBC learned that the company was laying off employees at traffic reporting app Waze, which it acquired in 2013, and combining them with the Google Maps team.