When Google puts its name on something; you know it’s going to be big. Good news for the solar industry: Google is putting its name on rooftop solar. Again. Google is partnering with Clean Power Finance to create a new $75 million fund to finance residential solar projects. The fund will enable up to 3,000 homeowners to purchase photovoltaic (PV) systems in a number of key markets.
Residential solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) and leases are currently among the fastest growing product categories in the solar industry. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), PPAs and leases accounted for more than a third of all residential solar sales in California and Colorado in the first quarter of 2011. These financing solutions enable solar adoption among homeowners, who can be wary of making a large up-front investment in a PV system.
The announcement marks Google’s second major investment in residential solar, following its partnership with SolarCity this summer. According to the Google blog, Clean Power Finance was chosen for its innovative open platform, which connects installers with investors. Solar installers sign up with Clean Power Finance to gain access to financing. According to Google, this solution “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.”
“It’s a powerful combination that will reduce costs and facilitate the expansion of distributed solar in the U.S.,” said Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations at Google. “We’re proud to be among the first investors to partner with Clean Power Finance, and enable the company to continue forging strong relationships with the best brands in solar.” The new fund will bring Google’s total investment in the renewable energy sector to more than $850 million.