Google Makes its Biggest Investment in Solar Energy

The San Francisco-based startup is best-known for installing residential solar panels. In a blog post, Google said SolarCity will create a fund to help consumers get cheaper financing for solar panel installations and, by default, pay less for green energy than they do for electricity. At the same time, Googlers will get a discount to install SolarCity’s solar panels.

"We think ‘distributed’ renewable energy (generated and used right at home) is a smart way to use solar photovoltaic (PV) technology to improve our power system since it helps avoid or alleviate distribution constraints on the traditional electricity grid," wrote Rick Needham, director of Google’s Green Business Operations.

To date, Google has invested $680 million in renewable energy products, including a $168 million investment in a Concentrating Solar Power plant in California’s Mojave Desert, a $5 million investment in a solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Germany, and $38.8 million into two North Dakota wind energy plants, the company’s first direct investment in a utility-scale renewable energy project. Last October, Google also announced plans to invest in a wind farm initiative that will fund 350 miles worth of wind farms off the East Coast.