The great thing about the weather folks is that they are able to predict sunshine better than oil folks can predict oil and gas. And Google's investment of $280 million in residential solar with Solar City seems to be a great move and a new opportunity for those in the roofing related installation business who have been hard hit with the down-turn in US housing. Residential solar panels on lease (zero payment) makes sense for home owners beleaguered by high home energy costs. As a homeowner you own the sunshine that falls on your roof and- it's free !
Google expects to make about 8-9% from funding the capital cost, which does'nt seem like much but once installed and working the revenue is pretty much sure to come through. And, if the home-owner gets some free power from her/his roof its a true winning situation, particularly when the housing market might decline by another 10-25% according to Robert Shiller and home owners find it difficult to sell. Might as well try and save some energy cost with solar panels is the sort of "coping with recession" logic here but at least you are thinking of something positive like sunshine. The Solar City equipment lease for a 3 bedroom home is estimated at $110 a month and I guess payback depends on how much sunshine you get on your roof throughout the year.
The Solar City business model is to do free installation and take a lease payment from the homeowner for the solar panel equipment . Now that sounds a bit like the satellite TV antennae industry where the installer industry installs the antennae on your roof for the different Satellite TV companies like Direct TV and Dish TV.
So probably there is opportunity for folks who do TV satellite dish installations as well. Yes there is a set of installation and maintenance training that has to take place for the installation crews but if you have a roofing related business,this does seem like an opportunity to check out.