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Google Invests Big in Solar-Powered Homes

by UrbanTurf Staff

Google Invests Big in Solar-Powered Homes: Figure 1
Grid tied photovoltaic system on the roof of 1824 R Street NW

Today, Google announced a $75 million investment in Clean Power Finance, a start-up backed by the company that pairs solar panel installers with investors that want solar-panel roof systems.

So, what does that $75 million translate into for the average homeowner? It is a little complicated. Google is not putting the money towards helping homeowners buy their own solar panel systems. Rather, Google will help provide financing to installers, who will build solar panel systems for homes; the search-engine giant will then own those systems.

Here is how the process is described via the Google blog:

Clean Power Finance [has] developed an open platform that connects installers with investors like Google to provide financing to homeowners. Solar installers sign up with Clean Power Finance to get access to the company’s comprehensive sales solutions, including consumer financing from investors, like the Google fund. This enables installers to sell more systems and grow their business. The installer builds the system, the investor (in this case, Google) owns it, and homeowners pay a monthly payment for the system, at a price that’s often less than paying for energy from the grid. Maintenance and performance are taken care of by Clean Power Finance and its network of installers.

According to The Wall Street Journal, homeowners will sign a long-term contract to buy electricity generated by the panels, and Google will take a portion of those payments. (It sounds a little bit like Google becomes the solar version of Pepco.)

This is not the company’s first foray into the solar energy world. In April, the Associated Press reported that Google invested $168 million in an alternative power project that aimed “to produce enough solar energy to light 140,000 homes.”

See other articles related to: solar power, green real estate dc, google

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/google_invests_big_in_solar-powered_homes/4236

2 Comments

  1. Roger Lin said at 9:21 pm on Tuesday September 27, 2011:
    This is very interesting! I wonder if the resulting PV system will be grid-connected but I think most likely it will be. I think this is a good idea for everyone involved. The homeowner will get a cheaper, green power source. If they really pay less, this will make people really rethink how they want to be "powered". Assuming the homes themselves are not being retrofitted to be net zero energy with the PVs, they probably will need to pay for the shortage wattages, but overall, they will pay less than before. Now who gets paid if there's netmetering? Power company will get more sources for power that are more reliable. But they will not sell as many wattages. Investor will own the system, which allows them to get carbon credit that can be traded. They also become utility companies without having to own the land or the transmission equipment. Installers will get paid for more systems that they build and install. Roger
  1. amber said at 9:45 pm on Tuesday September 27, 2011:
    Awesome news. I want solar panels!

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