Google's Next Solar Investment

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted September 28, 2011

We saw Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) commitment to the solar industry back in June, when the Internet giant invested $280 million in SolarCity’s residential solar electricity systems.

Now the company is furthering its commitment to benefit even smaller companies.

On Tuesday, Google announced that it would be setting up a fund of $75 million that will be used to build over 3,000 solar electricity systems on residential homes.

The fund will be set up in conjunction with Clean Power Finance, a company that links investors with solar installation companies that can’t provide financing on their own.

Through the fund, Google will provide money to small-time, local solar installers.

These installers will then be able to provide customers with a financing plan.  Google will own the panels by paying the companies to install them.

And the homeowners get the good end of the deal too.  The installation would be at little to no cost to them, and the monthly electricity bill would either be the same or less than their local utility bill, reports the Boston Globe.

The panels won’t hold Google’s brand name, either.  The local companies get the benefit of their brand on the panels.  Google pays them to install the panels on the homes, and the homeowners’ monthly fees go straight to Google to pay back the investment.

Everyone wins.

In a normal situation, reports the Boston Globe, a residential solar installation would cost a homeowner between $25,000 and $30,000.

Though government subsidies help a little, this still isn’t affordable to the average homeowner.

And because of this, local solar companies are struggling to maintain sales, even though panel prices are down.  These small companies can’t offer financing on their own.

Rick Needham of Google’s Green Business Operations told the Boston Globe, “Cash sales [of solar panels] have been good, but once you add financing, sales can go through the roof.”

So we can count on the fact that Google’s investment plan will boost sales for many of these local solar installation companies.

And with Google getting such good returns, the company will benefit as well.

That’s all for now,


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