Google Invests in Solar Panels

Discussion in 'Environmental Discussion' started by twittel, Jun 14, 2011.

  1. twittel

    twittel Senior Member

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    According to Yahoo News sources, Google invested $280M in homeowner solar panels. Wow, these guys are more into venture capital than internet stuff! What scares me is the "customer agreement to pay a set price for what...the rest of their lives? The article doesn't say whether or not the homeowner qualifies for federal tax credits.

    "Google is investing $280 million to help private homeowners put solar panels on their rooftops. It's Google's latest — and largest — investment in clean energy.
    The money will allow installer SolarCity to offer solar systems to homeowners for no money up front. In exchange, customers agree to pay a set price for the power produced by the panels.
    Google earns a return on its investment by charging SolarCity interest to use its money and reaping the benefits of federal and local renewable energy tax credits."

    Google invests $280 million to spur home solar - Yahoo! News
     
  2. wick1ert

    wick1ert Senior Member

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    SC is claiming the tax credits, since they are the ones that own the system. It's basically the homeowner allowing SC to use their roof in exchange for a cheaper electricity rate. SC also gets the credit for any and all RECs that they may be entitled to, as well.

    The length of the PPA is probably agreed upon ahead of time. I'd guess that they have various term contracts that they use.
     
  3. austingreen

    austingreen Senior Member

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    UPDATE: Google Invests $280 Million In Residential Solar Installations - WSJ.com

    I'm not sure what the shortest lease available is, but the longer the lease the lower the payment. The financier, google in this case, really is taking the tax credit which lowers the lease rate. The risk is that the buyer defaults, but these are being sold in areas with high utility prices, so the buyer should not default unless they default on their house and it remains vacant, in which solar city will need to remove the panels. If the home is sold in these areas it is likely the new owner would assume lease payments, or the owner would pay off the lease.

    Think of it this way, google is acting like a bank supplying home improvement loans. Its not charity, its a business, but these are improvements that benifit both the home owner and google. City of Berkeley tried to do this and take payments for the panels on the utility bills, but tried to have the loan act like a first mortgage instead of an improvement loan. This was deemed illegal (the banks need to keep the first mortgage in the case of default). Google is just acting to provide some liquidity for solar that banks are not doing today.
     
  4. SageBrush

    SageBrush Senior Member

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    Kudos to Google for being forward thinking in so many ways.

    I think part of the reason even informed consumers do not put PV up is the worry that they will move, and the new owners will not be willing to pay for the PV investment. Google solves this problem, albeit at the risk of a homeowner not paying for the electricity.
     
  5. dtuite

    dtuite Silverback

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    Solar IS "Internet stuff." Any one of Google's server farms consumes as much electricity as a good sized city. Besides siting some of its server farms along the Columbia River (where we're no longer smelting aluminum, which is what the Columbia dams used to suppport), I can think of a fair number of initiatives that Google (and MicroSoft and the server makers themselves have undertaken to diminish or support the Internet's greedy taste for electric power.
     
  6. REDWIND88

    REDWIND88 New Member

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    Living here in Seattle we don't have to worry about using solar panels on our house-since we have about 8 days a year of sun!!!!
     
  7. clintb

    clintb Clueless n00b

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    Old news for Google to be tied up in solar, but check out the tops of their buildings and carports in and around the GooglePlex in Mountain View, CA. Awesome company that's always looking to reduce their carbon footprint and I was always hearing of something going on in that regard when I worked there in 2008.
     
  8. preciseenergy

    preciseenergy New Member

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    Really google is the father of everything nowadays.Even in this solar venture concept,google took the initiative...Keep it up google!!
     
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