Look Up! makes use of your phone’s hardware to help you find roofs that could be turned into solar power stations
Runs offline: partially
Last update: Android 10/10/2016 (v. 2.0.2) – iOS 11/11/2016 (v. 2.0.4)
Website of the developer: 1010UK
Look Up is an application that allows you to calculate the potential solar energy of a roof from a photograph and the introduction of variables such as approximate inclination, orientation or if there are obstacles that make shade (chimneys, power lines, trees, etc.).
The app, which requires a user account, works as follows:
- Take a picture of a roof or building. Although this image only serves as a visual identifier, it’s important that you get it from the app because you can’t load images from the gallery of the mobile device. The only editing option that the application allows is to crop the image.
- Locate on aerial image the roof or building you just photographed (you’ll also have the option to share it on Twitter).
Once you upload the image to the system, the application enables you to find your roof’s solar potential, photograph another roof or see the leaderboard (there is a rewards system mentioned later).
If you choose to calculate the potential, a screen appears in which, by means of a rectangle, you have to cover the surface of the roof you have photographed (you can rotate and scale it to try to adapt as best as possible). Afterwards, you indicate the approximate inclination of the roof, define the orientation, point out the possible obstacles that could affect the performance of the solar panels (other buildings that make shade, trees, etc.) and select the building material (metal, tile, etc.).
Based on the image and data entered, the application calculates the number of possible panels, the power generated, how many homes it could supply, drawbacks and features.
The recognition system referred to above, which takes into account the profiles of users that who spot the most solar potential, include small presents that, judging by the content, are intended for users residing in United Kingdom.
It should also be mentioned that on the website you can see a map with the roofs for which the potential of energy generation has been calculated.
Images: Screenshots 14/11/2016. ©1010UK
The gradual decarbonisation of the economy requires a decisive commitment to renewable energies and energy storage systems. One of the most promising sources of energy generation and in which major advances are being made is solar energy, although it is necessary to continue progressing both in minimizing the impacts caused by the manufacture of panels, as in the increasing of their performance and its recycling capacity. One of the usual supports to mount this type of installations (and that it reduces the environmental impact on the ground) are the roofs. However, not all of these structures are valid or profitable, either because they are poorly oriented, receive shadow of surrounding obstacles, etc. These variables leads to the need to make previous calculations that maximize the profitability of the installation.
Look Up allows the interested user to make an approximation to the potential offered by a roof to support a solar energy installation (obviously, the viability of the project must be verified with detailed calculations made by an expert). More than a useful tool to find out the real options of a surface, Look Up is an application to make aware people about the available possibilities, in a line similar to the one proposed by other applications such as Mapdwell. Likewise, and although it serves to provide data in a clear way, it would be interesting to incorporate a more detailed explanation on how the calculations are performed.