Google Pours A Quarter Billion Into Residential Rooftop Solar Power


Google has announced the creation of a USD$280 million fund to finance residential solar power installations. 
Partnering with SolarCity, the company that will install the solar arrays, the initiative will be Google’s largest single investment so far in the clean energy sector. 
According to Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity, "The largest 200 corporations in the U.S. 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 project will work by funding extended solar leasing and power purchase agreements to households wishing to install home solar power systems. SolarCity will cover installation and maintenance of the system over the life of the lease and householders can prepay, or pay nothing upfront after which time they will make monthly solar lease payments at a rate lower than their current electricity costs.
A somewhat similar rooftop leasing arrangement has recently been implemented by Australian solar solutions provider Energy Matters for commercial customers. In that model, currently a pilot project in the A.C.T,  the company offers an additional "pay never" option whereby owners of commercial buildings receive rental income by leasing their roof to Energy Matters. Under that option, the company collects the revenue generated by the array’s electricity production exported to the mains grid.
Google has now invested more than $680 million in a wide range of clean energy technologies, including a USD $55 million stake in a 102 megawatt wind power project in California. a solar farm in Germany, the Atlantic Wind Connection, two wind farms located in North Dakota and a 114 megawatt wind farm in Iowa. 
This latest initiative marks Google’s first investment in residential solar.
"We continue to look for other renewable energy investments that make business sense and help develop and deploy cleaner sources of energy," said Rick Needham, Google’s Director of Green Business Operations.