Market Research and Insight

Google and SolarCity have launched a $280 million fund to help bring solar power to residential customers. It’s Google’s largest investment to date in...

Google and SolarCity have launched a $280 million fund to help bring solar power to residential customers.

It’s Google’s largest investment to date in the clean-energy sector, as well as the largest residential solar fund ever created in the US. It’s also the 15th project fund for SolarCity, which has worked with seven different partners to finance $1.28 billion in solar projects.

“Google is setting an example that other leading American companies can follow,” said Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity. “The largest 200 corporations in the US have more than $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.”

The new fund will extend solar lease and power purchase agreement options to customers who want to have solar panels installed on their homes, but don’t want to make the larger upfront investment to purchase the systems.

SolarCity serves Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas, and has more than 15,000 solar projects completed or underway. More than 12,000 of those customers have gone with the financing option, while 3,000 have purchased their systems.

“(T)hrough 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,” said Rick Needham, director of green business operations at Google.

Google has so far invested more than $680 million in a wide range of clean-energy technologies. This marks Google’s first investment in residential solar.

Dan Ilett