Print 14 comment(s) - last by jeanne.. on Sep 29 at 2:26 PM

Google is working to help 3,000 homeowners receive solar power rooftops

Google has proved its commitment to greener technologies over the past few years through hybrid vehicle initiatives, its investment in the world's largest wind farm, an investment in the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, and the installation of solar panels in its roof in Mountain View, California (which produces 1.6 megawatts of energy).

Last year, Google received regulatory approval to buy and sell power
, much like a utility company. It is now using this approval to provide solar panels to homeowners who want to participate in green technology.

At the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in San Francisco this week, Google announced that it is investing $75 million toward helping 3,000 homeowners receive solar power. It is building an initial fund with Clean Power Finance in this venture. 

According to The Official Google Blog, purchasing solar has been difficult for homeowners up until now because of costs. Solar installers do not always have the capital to provide financing for customers, and they sometimes cannot find resources that can provide financing. 

On the investors side, it’s hard for companies and banks to enter the market and find a way to connect with customers in such a "fragmented market with many companies."

But now, Google has found a solution. It is partnering with Clean Power Finance, which has found a way to connect homeowners and solar investors like Google through an open platform. This allows Google to provide the financing they need in order to pursue alternative energy ventures. 

Solar installers then sign up with Clean Power Finance in order to sell these systems
, and these installers build them as a way of growing their business. At the end of the day, Google owns the system, Clean Power Finance takes care of the maintenance, and homeowners pay a monthly fee. 

"As we said when we made our first residential solar investment, we think it makes a lot of sense to use solar photovoltaic (PV) technology -- rooftop solar panels -- to generate electricity right where you need it at home," said Google in its blog. "It greens our energy mix by using existing roof space while avoiding transmission constraints, and it can be cheaper than drawing electricity from the traditional grid."

According to Google, it has now invested more than $850 million in clean energy total.

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By kattanna on 9/28/2011 10:08:02 AM , Rating: 2
with google owning the panels, how will that enter into when someone wants to sell the house, or if they lose the house through repossession?

RE: ownership
By FITCamaro on 9/28/2011 10:38:09 AM , Rating: 2
Good question.

RE: ownership
By sorry dog on 9/28/2011 11:03:29 AM , Rating: 2
Just a wild guess, but new owner would probably have pay monthly fee or panels and equipment go away...if repossessed same deal except Google solar would probably have a hard time getting access, and probably eat the cost...and then be billed to the defaulter.

...but the question I got is what's the big deal...$75 mil is chump change to google. If they were really on board with this then the investment would be much higher.

RE: ownership
By Spuke on 9/28/2011 12:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
...but the question I got is what's the big deal...$75 mil is chump change to google. If they were really on board with this then the investment would be much higher.
I guess you missed the part where they have invested $850 million total in "clean energy".

RE: ownership
By Starcub on 9/28/2011 11:19:07 AM , Rating: 2
My guess is that the system is grid tied. In the event of vacancy, they would sell the electricity to the power company.

RE: ownership
By undummy on 9/28/2011 11:22:22 AM , Rating: 2
Some utilities and co-ops already do this. Its can work just like an easement, right of way, or a simple lease.

They lease your roof and apply it as a discount on your electricity bill.

So, if you sell your house, the purchaser continues on the lease.

RE: ownership
By mars2k on 9/28/2011 3:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
You transfer lease or some buyout like a car. When the install goes in how will Google secure it's ownership of the panels? I'm sure they will secure a lien of some sort No matter what when the deed transfers Google will be paid some way.
Interesting concept. Lots of businesses are doing this same thing.

Hey google!
By shin0bi272 on 9/28/2011 4:47:28 PM , Rating: 2
If it didnt work for the entire country of spain (obama gave them 2 billion this year after the government stopped forking out cash) why do you think you can make it work?

RE: Hey google!
By ipay on 9/28/2011 5:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
Because private industry > government?

RE: Hey google!
By johnsmith9875 on 9/29/2011 9:23:42 AM , Rating: 2
Spain's economic problems come squarely from its propensity to emulate the American model of finance....unwisely sock billions into mortgages, securitizing them, and wasting money building housing developments witn no clear idea if anybody can or will buy them.

Spain's solar industry has been quite successful, despite its private industry financial sector being investing morons.

Can't wait for the ads
By magmaviper on 9/28/2011 10:02:43 AM , Rating: 5
They are going to end up putting ads on your roof.

Hell I'd let them do it if it reduced my electric bill.

In other news
By johnsmith9875 on 9/28/2011 2:04:41 PM , Rating: 3
More Buggy Whip salesmen lose their jobs, luddites protest.

This might work in California....
By Natch on 9/29/2011 10:30:54 AM , Rating: 2
....where Google is headquartered, and energy prices continue to be high, but it's still not viable everywhere.

Living in north Texas, I have had a couple companies give me figures on installing solar on my roof (house is just under 1800 square feet, with great southern exposure on half the roof, with minimal loss of sunlight exposure due to trees). I have compared that with what it's costing me to buy electricity, and solar STILL comes out to only match the price (sometimes MORE expensive).

What I would end up with, after paying off an installed system, would be a paid off 15-20 year old system, old technology, and ZERO savings. Until solar can beat my price for fossil fuel electricity, I'll continue in my old polluting ways.

By jeanne on 9/29/2011 2:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
how would you find out if you qualify

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