Google Invests $280M to Help Build Solar Panels on Homes

In its largest investment yet in clean energy, Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) said on Tuesday that it is teaming up with SolarCity to open a new $280 million fund to finance residential solar projects.

Targeted toward people who desire solar power on their homes but do not want to make the large upfront payment to purchase the systems, the fund provides customers with solar lease and power purchase agreement options to install solar panels.

The lease, which allows customers to prepay or pay nothing upfront, covers installation and maintenance of the system over the life of the lease. Customers would be required to repay any loans in monthly installments.

The collaboration, which is SolarCitys largest project financing fund and largest residential solar fund in the U.S., is the first between the Internet giant and the solar power and energy efficiency service provider.

Of its more than 15,000 solar projects in Arizona, California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey Pennsylvania and Texas, more than 12,000 of those customers have chosen SolarCitys financing options, while only 3,000 purchased their systems.

Having already invested more than $680 million in a wide range of clean energy technologies, Google has been a prominent figure in alterative energy development, though its latest partnership marks its first investment in residential solar.

Google has made a series of investments in renewable energy because they make business sense and help deploy a range of solutions that can help move us toward a clean energy future, said Rick Needham, director of green business operations at Google.

In its green blog, the tech giant said the solar power ultimately costs less for the consumer than powering homes off just the grid.