Google wants to help 10,000 homeowners go solar, announcing this week that it has set up a $75 million fund with Clean Power Finance, a company that provides financing options for residential solar systems.
How will the Google fund work? Google will maintain ownership of the installed solar array, and Clean Power Finance and the solar installers are responsible for maintenance of the solar panels.
Homeowners pay a monthly fee for the system, essentially renting the solar panels from Google. The monthly payment will often cost less than local utility rates, writes Google’s Director of Green Business Operations Rick Needham on the company’s blog.
Google thinks that Clean Power Finance’s model – eliminating the initial cost of solar panels for homeowners by bringing together investors and solar installers – can accelerate the widespread adoption of residential solar systems across the country.
“Purchasing a solar system is a major home improvement, but the upfront cost has historically been one of the biggest barriers for homeowners,” Needham says. “Solar installers across the country don’t always have the resources to find financing for customers or the capital to provide it themselves. And for investors like Google, banks and others, it can be difficult to enter a fragmented solar market with many companies and get connected to individual homeowners. That’s where Clean Power Finance comes in.”
Earlier this year, Google created a $280 million fund with solar installer SolarCity to finance residential solar installations. The tech giant estimates that its investments in SolarCity and Clean Power Finance will allow up to 10,000 homeowners to install solar arrays, Needham says.