Google investing in residential solar power

| by Teena Hammond
Google investing in residential solar power

Google is green — at least with renewable energy. The software giant recently announced it has been carbon neutral since 2007, and it also revealed plans to team with Duke Energy to invest in pig poop power. And now, the latest news is it's partnership with Clean Power Finance to invest $75 million for solar panels in 3,000 homes.

Google has invested a total of $850 million in renewable energy over the years, and this new $75 million project will allow Google to actually own the solar panels as well as the power inverters inside the home. The panels will then be leased to homeowners, according to Whitney Phaneuf, spokesperson for Clean Power Finance.

"Clean Power Finance has built an innovative platform that connects solar manufacturers, investors like us, and solar installers who offer our financing directly to homeowners. 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."

SunLogic, California Solar Systems and American Vision Solar are among the many solar installers currently branding and offering homeowners Clean Power Finance's financing solution.

In one such home, the Brandt family of Simi Valley, Calif. recently went solar with a 4.14 kW system owned by Google, operated by Clean Power Finance, and installed by American Vision Solar, Phaneuf said.

Google is providing the financing to 3,000 homeowners for solar power systems that won't cost them out of pocket, with local installers doing the work, and the homeowner paying a fixed, monthly rate. The new program is available in Arizona, California and Colorado, and will soon expand to the northeast, Phaneuf said.

Residential solar financing is among the fastest growing categories in the solar industry. Solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) and leases are the driving force behind solar adoption among homeowners, creating an easy and low cost way to go solar. In the first quarter of 2011, PPAs/leases accounted for more than a third of all residential solar sales in California and Colorado, according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

"I've been fortunate enough to be a part of residential solar financing since its inception. Google's investment in one of Clean Power Finance's funds further validates the rapidly growing residential solar financing category and our unique market approach. Our open, online platform makes it simple for qualified solar installers to offer the best available consumer financing from leading investors like Google," said Nat Kreamer, Clean Power Finance CEO and board member.

Forty percent of residential solar systems sold in the U.S. last year were facilitated by Clean Power Finance's platform. CPF Tools was the first SaaS, professional-grade solar quoting and proposal application on the market, and today represents the most comprehensive platform connecting solar system installation, design, sales and financing.

For more information, see our Solar Power for Homes research center.

Topics: Photovoltaic / Solar Panels, Solar Power

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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