Google Hits The Roof

solar homeGoogle/SunPower

A ravenous consumer of electricity, Google is busy finding ways to provide cleaner clicks.

And its efforts have not gone unnoticed, as the search engine giant was recognized in Greenpeace’s ‘How Companies Are Creating the Green Internet’ report earlier this month.

Google has an impressive history of clean energy investment, from wind farms in Texas to solar facilities in Germany. To date it has invested more than $1 billion in some 16 renewable energy projects around the world.

Together these projects can generate over 2GW each year – that’s enough electricity to power 500,000 homes for one year.

And this week the company announced it is taking further steps towards a clean energy future with a major new investment. Together with SunPower Corporation, it’s creating a new $250 million fund to help finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems—making it easier for thousands of households across the U.S. to go solar.

Essentially, this is how it works: Using the fund – $100 million from Google and $150 million from SunPower – Google buys solar panel systems. Then it leases them to homeowners at a cost that’s typically lower than their normal electricity bill. So by participating in this program, homeowners not only help the environment— they also save money.

SunPower delivers solar to residential, utility and commercial customers and also manufacturers its own solar cells and panels. The company is known for having high-quality, high reliability panels which can generate up to 50 per cent more power per unit area. That means that you can install fewer solar panels to get the same amount of energy.

The SunPower announcement follows Google’s largest renewable energy purchase to date — 407 megawatts of wind energy from Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy to power an Iowa data centre.