Google announces $300m investment in rooftop solar

Google's latest renewable energy investment will be providing almost half of a new $750m fund by SolarCity Corp to finance 25,000 residential solar projects, marking the technology giant's largest renewable energy investment to date.

It is also the largest fund ever created for residential solar systems. The money will be used by SolarCity to install solar panels on domestic homes. The home owners will then pay a monthly fee to lease the panels from the company.

SolarCity’s business model allows homeowners to partake in generating their own renewable energy without the upfront investment of up to $30,000 for installing the solar panels. As a so-called “tax equity” investor in the fund, Google can claim federal tax credits worth 30%of a solar project’s cost to reduce its tax burden.

18th renewable project

This will be the second partnership between Google and SolarCity. Back in 2011 it also created a $280m fund with the solar panel installer.

Google has invested in 18 renewable projects since 2010. Most recently, in September 2014 edie reported that Google was putting forward $145m to fund a new 82MW solar power plant in California. The deal, struck with SunEdison, will see a 737-acre solar PV plant installed on an abandoned gas and oil field in Kern County; generating enough energy to power 10,000 homes.


Fellow technology giant Apple also announced this week its most recent commitment to renewable technology. It plans to build two data centres in Europe worth $1.7bn, both powered by 100% renewable energy.

This month edie detailed five ways in which Apple was embedding sustainability in its operations, including their planned Apple Campus 2, which will reportedly be ‘the greenest building ever’.

Although technology companies are reducing their carbon footprints by investing in renewable energy, last week the Green Alliance released a report detailing ways in which companies could better recycle and re-use electronic goods like mobile phones and tablets to reduce the problem of e-waste.

Lucinda Dann

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