Google teams up with SolarCity, invests $280 million in residential solar

Summary:Google on Tuesday said that it will create a $280 million fund to help SolarCity, a residential solar project financing company, to ramp up deployments.

Google on Tuesday said that it will create a $280 million fund to help SolarCity, a residential solar project financing company, to ramp up deployments.

SolarCity is a company that has been gaining traction because provides money and financing upfront for residential solar installations. Costs are the biggest hurdle to residential solar installations. Technically, homeowners don't own the solar installation, but buy power from SolarCity at a discount.

For Google, the $280 million fund is its largest clean energy investment yet. Google has invested $680 million in clean tech. Google employees will also get SolarCity discounts.

SolarCity's business model could garner traction because of the following features:

  • Residents pay nothing or little upfront for the solar installation;
  • Lease payments are made over a term, say 15 years;
  • Lower utility bills are the big draw;
  • SolarCity can sell any excess power to the grid.

In another sign of the maturity of these solar leasing models, these financing deals are being securitized and packaged for investors.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Topics: Innovation

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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