Oil supermajor Total has linked with Google to develop a software tool designed to accelerate the deployment of solar panels on homes and commercial buildings.

Total and Google Cloud said their Solar Mapper aims to give homeowners an accurate and rapid estimate of the solar potential of their roofs. The tool will be deployed first in Europe and then worldwide.

According to Total, Solar Mapper uses new algorithms that provide better results than current tools, especially by improving the quality of the data extracted from satellite images and the accuracy of solar potential.

“In the case of France, Solar Mapper provides more than 90% geographical coverage, allowing many more people to assess the solar potential of their homes, with greater accuracy than before,” Total said.

Total also plans to develop a business-to-business application of Solar Mapper, dedicated to industrial and commercial buildings.

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PV took a starring role in the International Energy Agency’s latest flagship World Energy Outlook this week, which labelled solar the new "king of the world's electricity markets".

“Based on today’s policy settings, it is on track to set new records for deployment every year after 2022,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said.

Solar push for Total

Solar is one of the focus areas for Total's growing renewables ambitions, recently upgraded to a gross 35GW by 2025.

This year Total has made a huge new push into Spanish solar, claiming this will allow it to run its entire European operations on renewable electricity.

Last month, the company signed an agreement with local developer Ignis to develop 3.3 gigawatts of solar plants in the Madrid and Andalusia regions, with full power production by 2025.

The Ignis partnership follows a similar deal earlier this year with Powertis and Solarbay to build about 2GW of Spanish PV.

Total said once the plants are in operation by mid-decade, it will buy almost 6 terawatt-hours of solar power from about 3GW of the arrays, enough to cover the entire power needs of its European sites and eliminating about 2 million tonnes of emissions annually.

The new Spanish deal adds to major solar agreements struck in India and Qatar that mean the French group has taken positions in about 8GW of PV development in 2020 alone, adding to its long-standing place in the solar market via control of US solar panels manufacturing subsidiary SunPower