Google has unveiled a new clean energy investment strategy that will help fund repairs and energy efficiency upgrades for low-income homes.
Teaming up with solar energy company Sol Systems, the tech giant will invest in solar projects being developed by Pine Gate Renewables, a clean energy company based in North and South Carolina.
Both companies will provide the money to fund new solar energy projects with a combined 225-megawatt capacity, as well as 18 megawatts in battery storage resources.
These projects will specifically be built in areas where there has been a slow uptake of renewables, with a focus on pushing Google nearer to its “24/7 Clean Energy” goal — by 2030, it hopes to run each of its data centers on renewable power.
Google and Sol Systems will also provide seed funding for organizations that support low-income communities, with the goal of funding repairs and improving energy efficiency in homes.
Energy efficiency upgrades are a boost for both household budgets and the environment, but many in the U.S. cannot afford them.
In 2021, the U.S. government allocated $3.5 billion over five years to assist low-income households with making energy efficiency improvements, but health and safety checks are preventing many from being eligible.
A damaged roof, excessive moisture build-up, or general structural problems might be enough to disqualify a home from financial help, all of which are prohibitively expensive problems to fix for low-income households. But with help from Google and Sol Systems, companies in North and South Carolina will be able to help fund these repairs and “pre-weatherization” retrofits.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, households could cut their bills by up to 25% through common energy efficiency measures, which would total $2,200 a year.
“Energy efficiency is the low-hanging fruit that really sets people up for the benefits,” Adaora Ifebigh, Sol Systems’s director of impact, told Canary Media. “[Yet] about 20% of families cannot participate in weatherization due to insufficient home repairs.”
“We are committed to ensuring that the communities where we operate are actively benefiting from the clean energy transition,” Christopher Scott, Google’s energy lead, said in a statement. “We’re excited to partner with Sol Systems to not only bring new solar projects online to one of the most difficult grids to decarbonize but also work with them to help lower the energy burden in under-resourced communities through the clean energy transition.”
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