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Google offers $280M to help businesses, home owners buy solar panels

Google teams with SolarCity to offer solar power system financing

By Layer 8 on Tue, 06/14/11 - 10:46am.

Continuing its love of all things green, Google today said it was building a $280 million fund to help businesses and home owners finance solar panels for energy.

Specifically, Google said it was investing $280 million to create a fund that will help SolarCity finance solar installations across the country. Google added that the investment was its largest clean energy project investment to date and brings our total invested in the clean energy sector to more than $680 million.

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From Google's blog: "In SolarCity's innovative financing model, the company covers installation and maintenance of the system over the life of the lease. You can prepay, or pay nothing upfront after which you make monthly solar lease payments."

The SolarCity/Google fund will extend lease and purchase agreement  options to customers who desire to have solar panels installed on their homes, but do not wish to make the larger upfront investment to purchase the systems. SolarCity serves Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas, and has more than 15,000 solar projects completed or underway, according to SolarCity's Web site.

Google has made a ton of investment in green technologies in the past few months. In April Google invested $168 million in a solar energy plant known as a power tower that uses directed mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays onto a solar receiver at the top of a tall tower. In this case, a 450ft tall tower using 173,000 mirrors.

Last October, Google said it inked "an agreement to invest in the development of a backbone transmission project off the Mid-Atlantic coast that offers a solid financial return while helping to accelerate offshore wind development-so it's both good business and good for the environment. The new project can enable the creation of thousands of jobs, improve consumer access to clean energy sources and increase the reliability of the Mid-Atlantic region's existing power grid."

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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