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Google Ends Homeowners’ Search for Solar Power (Sort Of)

Internet giant Google has announced a partnership with a financing agency that will help homeowners pay for the installation of solar power systems that will help save energy and lower monthly electric bills.

Google has set aside $75 million to create a fund with Clean Power Finance that will help 3,000 homeowners finance the installation of solar power systems. According to Rick Needham, Google’s Director of Green Operations, the fund is intended to help homeowners overcome the initial costs of solar installation, which are daunting and can prevent people from adopting solar technology. Solar systems typically cost between $30,000 and $40,000, Needham said.

With typical solar panel installations, homeowners generate their own electricity and draw from the grid — and pay for — only what they need. If electric customers produce more power than what they use, they can sell it back to the grid.

However, under the financing plan from Google, homeowners won’t own the solar panels or any of the hardware, Google will. Instead, homeowners will be required to buy the power generated by the panels at a fixed monthly rate, which is supposed to be cheaper than their current rate and covers things like maintenance.

The fund brings Google’s total investment in green energy to $850 million. The company previously invested $280 million in solar power company Solar City, $100 million in a wind farm project and $168 million in a solar tower plant.

Sources

“Google Helping Homeowners Get Solar Power with $75 Million Investment,” Digital Investment, Sept. 28, 2011.

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