Google just made its largest investment yet in renewable energy – $280 million to fund residential solar installations.
Google has now invested more than $680 million in a wide range of clean energy technologies. This is Google’s first investment in residential solar.
The funds will cover the costs of systems owned and installed by SolarCity.
The Google Fund is SolarCity’s largest project financing fund and the largest residential solar fund created in the U.S.
SolarCity has created 15 project funds with seven different partners to finance $1.28 billion in solar projects. They will repay the investment, with interest, to Google.
Under SolarCity’s business model, rather than owning a solar system and paying upfront for its installation, homeowners pay SolarCity a set monthly price (usually lower than market price) for electricity generated by their solar systems.
The business model, known as "solar as a service," is growing in popularity among homeowners and businesses alike, because it avoids the steep up-front costs of getting into solar.
SolarCity says it has over 15,000 solar projects completed or underway across the country. More than 12,000 of those customers have chosen the solar-as-a-service financing option, while 3,000 have purchased their systems outright.
SolarCity operates in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, D.C.
"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," says Rick Needham, Google’s Director of Green Business Operations.
"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."