Google Invests Millions in Residential Solar

SolarCity infusion is Google’s largest yet

(Photo: Craig Miller)

Google is giving a boost to the solar industry today – but not to those large solar farms in the California desert. Nope, the company’s largest clean energy investment to date is going to home solar.

Five years ago, SolarCity was a small, Bay Area start-up. Today, it’s getting a $280 million-dollar investment from one of the most influential players in the game.

“We are very excited,” says Lyndon Rive,  CEO of SolarCity. “It’s a big vote of confidence in SolarCity as well as hopefully a big vote of confidence to the entire market.”

SolarCity’s business is built around installing and financing solar panels for its customers, sparing homeowners the steep up-front costs. That’s been helped recently by falling prices on solar panels.

Rive says the financing has largely been provided by banks thus far. But he’s hopeful Google’s move will bring more corporations into the mix. “If we want to see solar power truly get large-scale and get adoption across almost every home and every business, we need to see the corporations start investing into solar power,” he said.

Residential solar is a new focus for Google. In the past, the company has invested in large-scale wind and solar farms.

“We use energy to power our services and we want that energy to be as clean as possible,” says Parag Chokshi, a spokesperson for Google. He says the company sees small-scale solar as important part of the energy mix — and a good investment.

“We think that supporting the development of this sector will help all of these different technologies get down that cost curve to become cheaper and cheaper over time,”said Chokshi.

The investment will fund between 7,000 and 10,000 new solar installations across the country.

Google Invests Millions in Residential Solar 14 June,2011Lauren Sommer

One thought on “Google Invests Millions in Residential Solar”

  1. Wonderful that Google is getting on board with alternative energies — do they realize that geoengineering/chem trails/weather modification aerosol spraying that is causing all the grid lines that become cloud cover is diminishing the solar power that powers the panels. See for reasearch and the diminution of solar functions due to the massive spray programs. As of 6/26/11, the spraying has stopped in Sonoma for 2 weeks – probably to let the grapes ripen. It is Google vs. Weather Modification Consultants, Evergreen Air, chemical companies, etc. and HAARP in Alaska and the universities participating in this horrific application of science.

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Lauren Sommer

Lauren is a radio reporter formerly covering environment, water, and energy for KQED Science. As part of her day job, she has scaled Sierra Nevada peaks, run from charging elephant seals, and desperately tried to get her sea legs - all in pursuit of good radio. Her work has appeared on Marketplace, Living on Earth, Science Friday and NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered. You can find her on Twitter at @lesommer.

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