Today we announced the creation of a new fund that will finance $750 million in solar projects—including a $300 million investment from Google—and make it possible for homeowners across the U.S. to install solar panels with no upfront cost and pay less for the solar than they pay for electricity from the utility company.
How does it work? Simple. The fund covers the cost of the installation, solar panels and other equipment. The homeowner pays SolarCity for the electricity the solar panels produce, or monthly rent for the panels in the case of a lease. In most cases it’s very similar to the arrangement you have with your local utility, which finances the construction of a centralized power plant and delivery grid and then sells the power to you. Only the power that SolarCity provides is cleaner, and usually cheaper, too.
This is not the first time we’ve collaborated with Google in this way. Back in 2011, a similar investment allowed SolarCity to help more homeowners start using solar power at home; homeowners like Nicole and Adam Brown. The Browns live in California’s San Fernando Valley, and they signed up for SolarCity’s service after Adam’s father told them about it. They wanted to reduce their electricity bill, secure predictable solar energy rates and reduce carbon emissions, and SolarCity’s first fund with Google made that possible.
“We paid nothing for the panels and equipment until everything was turned on and ready to go, and after that we paid a low monthly rate for solar,” says Nicole. “It’s kind of a no brainer, but many people are still surprised at how easy and accessible and affordable it is.”
When Adam brought home a plug-in hybrid electric car, the Browns could power it with renewable energy and save on gasoline as well. And, even if using more electricity, “we’re still paying less for electricity than we would without solar, even with the EV,” Nicole says.
With two small children, Nicole and Adam have chosen to use their savings for fun and recreation. There’s been an additional family benefit: even if their 3-year-old son, Justin, is a bit too young to understand photovoltaic power, Taylor, 6, their daughter, gets first-hand experience with solutions to the sustainability issues she’s beginning to learn about in school.
“She likes that we have solar panels and daddy drives an electric car,” Nicole says.
So do we.
Want to learn more about going solar with SolarCity? Click here.