Google and SunPower pitch in for $250 million solar lease project

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Google today announced its direct involvement in the company’s 16th renewable energy investment with the news that it has committed $100 million to a $250 million solar leasing project run by U.S. solar firm, SunPower.

The solar giant has poured $150 million into the project, which is designed to support the expansion of the company’s solar lease program and has already helped 20,000 U.S. homeowners install rooftop solar PV on their homes. Earlier this year the scheme attracted banking heavyweights Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA Merrill), which teamed up with SunPower in January on a similar $220 million project.

For Google, this project is the company’s third foray into rooftop solar investment, taking its spending in renewable energy projects to more than $1 billion around the globe. In all, Google’s own renewable energy portfolio comprises more than 2 GW of clean capacity – enough to power some half a million U.S. households every year.

"We are pleased to team with SunPower to make solar power accessible to more homeowners, and offer families a more effective way to reduce their carbon footprint," said Google’s head of corporate finance, Kojo Ako-Asare. "Google is committed to promoting the efficient use of resources and expanding the use of renewable energy. Our partnership with SunPower makes good business sense and supports our goals for a clean energy future."

For SunPower CFO Chuck Boynton, the partnership represents a potentially game-changing step for the company’s solar lease program. "We’re pleased to partner with Google to help families take control of their energy costs," he said. "With the increased and growing interest in reliable, cost-effective solar from businesses and homeowners alike, Google’s leadership is helping take solar mainstream."

The partnership is another encouraging shot-in-the-arm for the U.S. third-party solar financing market, which has enjoyed a prominent rise so far in 2014, steered by SolarCity’s impressive growth and innovative business model, which has seen the company increase its value by 385% since its initial IPO.

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