Google, SunPower link for solar lease

Internet behemoth Google has upped its investment in residential PV – and renewables more broadly – by committing $100m to SunPower's solar-lease fund.

The deal is the first between SunPower and Google, the latter having created a $280m fund for SunPower’s solar-leasing rival SolarCity in mid-2011, nearly a year and a half before that company’s IPO.

The announcement follows a string of recent solar-lease financing deals for SunPower – including a $220m package with Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Solar leasing is a relatively small but fast-growing part of SunPower's overall business, which also includes module sale and utility-scale project development.

SunPower will add $150m alongside Google’s commitment, lifting the new fund's total to $250m.

Despite a continued string of major investments across wind and solar – including a stake in the 266MW Mount Signal mega-PV array – it has been more than two years since Google put money into the residential rooftop PV sector, which is growing by leaps and bounds in the US.

The company’s second and last investment in the space came in autumn 2011, when it invested into San Francisco-based Clean Power Finance, a company established by the founder of, which matches homeowners in need of capital to have PV installed on their rooftops with willing investors.

Google claims the deal with SunPower represents its 16th overall investment in renewables.

Yesterday MidAmerican Energy announced it had contracted with Google to supply 407MW of wind power to Google’s data centre in Iowa.