Google invests US$280 million in SolarCity solar rooftop fund

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Google has made its biggest investment in renewable energy to date by creating a US$280 million fund with SolarCity. The money will be dedicated to projects in the residential solar market and takes the internet giant’s green spending to US$680 million.

“Google is setting an example that other leading American companies can follow,” SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said. “The largest 200 corporations in the US have more than US$1 trillion in cash on their balance sheets. Investments in solar energy generate returns for corporate investors, offer cost savings for homeowners, create new, local jobs for jobseekers, and protect the environment from polluting power sources. If more companies follow Google’s lead, we can dramatically reduce our nation’s dependence on polluting power.”

Google’s funding will help will extend solar lease and power purchase agreement options for customers reluctant to make the large upfront outlay necessary for domestic installations. This could help deploy anywhere between 7,000 and 9,000 rooftop projects, and, due to the small number of solar rooftop installations in the US at present, could theoretically help deploy one in 10 solar rooftop projects over the next two years.

“Google has made a series of investments in renewable energy because they make business sense and help deploy a range of solutions that can help move us toward a clean energy future,” said Rick Needham, director of green business operations at Google. “Now, through this partnership with SolarCity, we’re excited to be making our first investment in distributed residential solar, making it easier and more affordable for consumers across the country, including our own employees, to use renewable energy at their own homes.”

“As American consumers better understand the consequences of their energy choices, demand for affordable clean power is increasing,” said Benjamin Cook, vice president of project finance at SolarCity. “This collaboration with Google will enable us to provide solar power to thousands of homeowners at or below the cost they currently pay for electricity.”

SolarCity currently serves Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas, and has more than 15,000 installations either completed or underway.

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