Clean Power solarcity graphic

Published on June 14th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan


Google Invests $280 Million More in Solar Energy, in California’s SolarCity

June 14th, 2011 by  

Google announced today that it is investing $280 million in a rooftop solar power company, California-based SolarCity. Included with the announcement was the short YouTube video above.

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).

Related Stories:

  1. Solar Leasing Programs Growing
  2. One Block Off the Grid Expands with Solar Leasing
  3. Google’s Energy Efficient Data Centers {VIDEOS}
  4. Google Maps Will Guide EV Drivers to Charging Stations

Image via Google 
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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media:, .

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  • Science Guru

    Attention writer Mr Zachary ShahanSee the comment I left in the other article about this SCAM. Do some research and you will find solar leasing is the biggest SCAM in the solar industry.

    Why would you lease a solar system and get a tiny reduction in electric cost for twenty years when you could just as easily own it in four or five years and get a zero electric bill?.  Contact me, I will explain in detail.

    • Anonymous

      I understand that it is tons more beneficial to buy it yourself. Like with
      anything, leasers earn money off you. On the other hand, many people won;t
      go solar having to pay for the system right off the bat. So, I think it has
      a good use (in getting many more people to go solar now).

      • Science Guru

        Your answer is spot on!  BUT…The ONLY reason google is doing this is for the massive tax credits they will receive from the federal government.  These tax incentives were NOT meant for the giant companies but for the HOMEOWNERS.  Can you do some research and let everyone know where and how to get reasonable green financing in your next article.  Banks are as tight as a frogs a$$ when it comes to loans.  Homeowners would jump right into solar if the federal government, banks or private money provided solar loans for THE CONSUMER.  Government loans that I have researched are only available to the wrong giants.

        • Anonymous

          Great points.

          Complicated topics I’m not sure if i feel qualified to write on, but I might
          have something on this sort of thing soon.

  • Anonymous

    We need a 100-fold increase by 2020.

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