Google is chipping in $100 million to a $250 million fund it created with SunPower to help finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems.
The search engine giant announced its new investment on Wednesday, just a day after it made its biggest renewable energy purchase
to date. This is Google's 16th renewable energy investment. In all, the company has invested $1 billion in renewable energy projects.
Google and SunPower will use the $250 million fund to buy solar panels and lease them out to home and building owners. To be clear, Google will make money over time on this endeavor. This isn't charity; it's an investment that will help people, who might not have the cash to shoulder the entire upfront cost, put rooftop solar on their homes or businesses.
SunPower already leases rooftop solar units to about 20,000 U.S. homeowners, and it expects to expand it by thousands more due to this fund, according to the company.
Google has invested $280 million into a similar solar rooftop fund by SolarCity.
On a side note, there's an interesting "it's a small world after all" connection between MidAmerican Energy and SunPower. Last year, MidAmerican Renewables—a business created to handle the power company's renewable energy interests—acquired SunPower's Antelope Valley Solar Projects
, two co-located projects in Kern and Los Angeles counties in California. MidAmerican didn't disclose the purchase price. However, analysts have pinned the purchase price somewhere between $2 billion and $2.5 billion.
Photo: Barry A. Hyman