SolarCity and US Bancorp announce $250 million solar energy fund

SolarCity and US Bancorp have announced a $250 million fund for residential and commercial solar power projects.

The two organisations have been working together for three year and the latest fund is the sixth and largest aimed at homeowners, businesses, schools and government buildings.

The setup allows SolarCity and US Bancorp to provide funding for the solar panels and installation, while customers pay for the electricity at a discount rate on their usual utility rate.

SolarCity manages the entire process of permitting and installing the solar panels, as well as ongoing maintenance and repairs.

US Bancorp says the deal simplifies the process of taking up renewable energy for both homeowners and businesses.

“US Bancorp and SolarCity are providing customers an end-to-end, clean energy service that costs less than a monthly utility bill,” says Zack Boyers, chair and CEO of US Bancorp’s community investment subsidiary.

Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) indicate that solar installations in the US are on an upward trend.

Installations were up 85% in the first three months of the year to 506 MW and could reach 3300 MW by the end of the hear, making the US the fourth largest solar market after Germany, Italy and China.

The country now has a total of 4.4 GW of solar photovoltaic capacity and has 1.1 GW of concentrating solar power (CSP) under construction.

The commercial sector including government and not-for-profit organisations reported the most growth, up 77% from last year to 288 MW installed.

One of the main drivers is the fall in price of solar modules, but this means that the outlook for the future is more uncertain as import levies on cheap imported Chinese panels kick in.