June 15, 2011 / 1:40 PM / 8 years ago

Google Invests $280 Million in SolarCity

Google announced Tuesday that it is investing $280 million in a rooftop solar power company, California-based SolarCity.

Of course, this is just the latest announcement of many demonstrating Google’s tremendous investment and belief in truly clean, renewable energy.

Google does a good job (who’s surprised) of pointing out quite clearly that while clean energy helps the environment, it just makes good economic and financial sense as well.

SolarCity offers solar leasing, something we’ve been writing about quite a bit lately. It’s clear that solar power more than pays for itself in the long run (in fact, it’s probably one of the safest investments for the return on investment you can choose), but for all those intimidated by the upfront costs, solar leasing provides a great alternative that allows you to save money from day one. While you may not save as much over the course of 20-40 years or so, you will be saving money immediately in such a program.

SolarCity covers installation and maintenance over the life of the lease. You can choose to either pay the full amount for the system or sign up for the leasing program. As the graph above shows, the savings over the course of a lease can be quite large. (Nonetheless, Google still expects to make some money on this investment, from the solar lease revenues.)

Google’s Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations (he’s the guy who makes most of their clean energy announcements), writes:

“Imagine sitting on your patio watching the sun’s rays pass overhead, knowing that they power your home with clean energy-at a cost that’s less that what you would have paid using just the grid. That’s what my colleague, engineer Michael Flaster, has been doing at his home in Menlo Park, Calif. since March of this year. He did it with the help of a company called SolarCity, which enables homeowners and businesses to begin using solar energy to power their homes and buildings.”

Dropping another few hundred million dollars on solar energy, Google is clearly putting its cards on this breakout power source.

Google’s $280 million “will give San Mateo, Calif-based SolarCity the funding to build and lease solar power systems to a 7,000 to 9,000 homeowners in the 10 states where it operates,” CNN reports. SolarCity already has 15,000 solar projects constructed or being built across the country.

For more on Google’s cleantech investments, check out: Google’s Clean Energy Projects (7 Big Ones).

Reprinted with permission from Cleantechnica

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