Is Google's investment in residential solar a good thing?

I recently read a blog about a company called SolarCity, which enables homeowners and businesses to begin using solar energy to power their homes and buildings. Google says it's investing $280 million to create a fund that will help SolarCity finance more solar installations across the country. This is Google's largest clean energy project investment to date. Google has also launched a partnership to offer SolarCity services to Googlers at a discount.


In SolarCity’s financing model, the company covers installation and maintenance of the system over the life of the lease. You can prepay, or pay nothing upfront after which you make monthly solar lease payments. The blog gives one example of a homeowner who will save $100 per month on his energy bills this year, and more than $16,000 over his 15 year lease, after factoring in his lease payment and lower energy bills.


"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," says Rick Needham, director of Green Business Operations at Google. 


Do you think residential solar will continue to catch on in the U.S.? What obstacles could hinder its growth?

 

-Kathie Zipp is Associate Editor of Solarpowerengineering.com and Windpowerengineering.com



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Comment by Sherine Ibrahim on June 27, 2011 at 8:53am
Residential solar will continue to catch on everywhere, not only in US, simply because there will be no other alternative to generate clean electric power without any impact on the environment, whether from gas emissions or noise. Moreover, it's FREE and nothing can hinder it except a solar eclipse for example. Fossil fuels will not exist for long, therefore, in this cae, development of renewable energy sources is vital and essential. Governments incentives will definitely help encouraging people to go forward for solar energy long-term investments.
Comment by Annalisa on June 20, 2011 at 6:38am
I think that the up front cost of solar is going to deter a lot of people away. It's a great alternative, but for people who aren't concerned with the effect on the environment that their energy use has, they aren't going to want to spend the money. If the government would give some sort of incentive, it might help, but then again they aren't in a position to spend money either. Thanks for the article, it's definitely interesting, and I think it is something that needs to be a higher priority.

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