Google will spend $75 million to finance residential solar installations, raising its total investment in the clean energy sector to more than $850 million.
The Mountain View, California-based search giant’s investment will create an initial fund with Clean Power Finance to help up to 3,000 homeowners go solar, marking Google’s second investment in residential solar.
“Purchasing a solar system is a major home improvement, but the upfront cost has historically been one of the biggest barriers for homeowners,” said Rick Needham, director of green business operations and strategy for Google, said in a blog post. “Solar installers across the country don’t always have the resources to find financing for customers or the capital to provide it themselves. And for investors like Google, banks and others, it can be difficult to enter a fragmented solar market with many companies and get connected to individual homeowners.”
That’s where San Francisco-based Clean Power Finance comes in, helping investors and lenders deploy capital to residential solar projects through its open platform that connects installers with investors such as Google to provide financing to homeowners.
Solar installers sign up with Clean Power Finance to access consumer financing from investors such as the Google fund. This enables the installers to sell more systems and grow their businesses. The installer builds the system, the investor owns it and homeowners pay monthly for the system, at a price that is often less than paying for energy from the grid, Needham said.
“By making financing more readily available, the Clean Power Finance platform has the potential to lower costs and accelerate adoption of solar energy,” he said.
Google’s first residential solar investment was a $280 million fund to help SolarCity finance solar installations across the US as part of Google’s belief in the benefits of using solar photovoltaic technology – rooftop solar panels – to generate electricity at homes where it is needed.
“It greens our energy mix by using existing roof space while avoiding transmission constraints, and it can be cheaper than drawing electricity from the traditional grid,” Needham said.
By. Gloria Gonzalez