Google Is Making Its Biggest Ever Bet on Renewable Energy

Google Inc. is making its largest bet yet on renewable energy, a $300 million investment to support at least 25,000 SolarCity Corp. rooftop power plants.
 
Google is contributing to a SolarCity fund valued at $750 million, the largest ever created for residential solar, the San Mateo, California-based solar panel installer said Thursday in a statement.
 
Google has now committed more than $1.8 billion to renewable energy projects, including wind and solar farms on three continents. This deal, which may have a return as high as 8 percent, is a sign that technology companies can take advantage of investment formats once reserved only for banks.
 
“Hopefully this will lead other corporations to invest in renewable energy,” SolarCity Chief Executive Officer Lyndon Rive said in a phone interview.
 
The deal reflects the success of renewable energy companies in tapping into a broader pool of investors with financial products that emerged in the past three years, either paying dividends or sheltering cash. Those helped boost investment in clean energy 16 percent to a record $310 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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