Could Google soon power homes?

NEW YORK – Oct. 4, 2011 – The Internet giant is increasing its stake in the solar home power business with a $75 million “initial investment” to buy and own solar-panel generators on roofs of thousands of homes. Google is investing in Clean Power Finance, a start-up company that matches solar-panel installers with investors willing to buy rooftop solar-panel systems.

“With Google’s investment, solar-panel installers can find homeowners who want solar panels on their roofs but don’t want to have to pay several thousand dollars to own the system,” according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to really help accelerate residential solar,” says Rick Needham, Google’s director of green business operations.

The latest investment will likely help fund up to 3,000 home rooftop solar systems. In June, Google made a $280 million investment in residential rooftop solar-panel installations with SolarCity Corp. Google’s total investment in renewable energy has been more than $850 million.

Rooftop solar demand is growing, and homeowners are finding paybacks too. Earlier this year, a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that solar panels not only saved homeowners money on electricity bills but also helped boost a home’s resale value, particularly for existing homes.

Source: “Google Invests $75 Million in Home Solar Venture,” The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 27, 2011)

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