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Google to invest in solar projects

PM News
June 15, 2011

Google’s US office has announced it will invest US$280 million (A$265 million) in home solar projects to promote clean energy use.

The money will be used to create a fund to assist SolarCity finance solar installations across the USA. SolarCity is one of the largest solar panel installation companies in the USA, providing solar energy options for homeowners and businesses.

The fund will enable up to 9,000 projects, which will equate to about one in 10 solar installations expected to occur in the US next year.

“This is our largest clean energy project investment to date and brings our total invested in the clean energy sector to more than $US680 million,” said Rick Needham, Google’s director of green business operations.

Previous investments include $US55 million for a wind energy farm in California, and $US168 million towards construction of one of the world’s biggest solar power plants in California’s Mojave Desert.

The fund will be flexible, allowing customers to choose the best technology at the time, rather than locking them into a certain type. “This is really important for solar PV panels because over the last two years, prices have come down dramatically and performance continues to improve,” said Needham.

“It’s actually a pretty exciting opportunity to make a largescale investment where you’re not really tying yourself to the technology of today but helping put into place the technology of tomorrow.”

SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said traditionally most capital for solar investment came from banks, but Google’s interest opens up the possibility of seeking funds from corporations. “Our number one constraint to growth has been project finance,” he stated.

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