Solar Energy Gets a Boost From Google

SolarCity will use $280 million Google fund to put solar systems on private homes.
By Jonathan Fahey, AP Energy Writer, On Tuesday June 14, 2011, 5:25 pm

Google is making its largest investment yet in clean energy in an effort to help private homeowners put solar panels on their rooftops.
The $280 million deal with installer SolarCity is the largest of its kind. SolarCity can use the funds to pay for a solar system that it can offer to residents for no money down. In exchange, customers agree to pay a set price for the power produced by the panels.
Google earns a return on its investment by charging SolarCity interest to use its money and reaping the benefits of federal and local renewable energy tax credits.

"It allows us to put our capital to work in a way that is very important to the founders and to Google, and we found a good business model to support," said Joel Conkling of Google's Green Business Operations in an interview before the company announced the investment Tuesday.

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Carl Heldmann