Will Google's Plan Put Solar ETFs Back on Track?

The recent market pullback has been cruel to clean-energy and solar exchange-traded funds. Solar ETFs have seen losses totaling around 20% over the past three months.

Now technology giant Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) is taking part in an alternative-energy investment plan designed to benefit the environment, while helping out homeowners who are interested in solar energy panels. Together with SolarCity, Google will outfit 10,000 rooftop solar systems at no cost to the homeowner.

"A key thing for us when we move into a market is can we save a business or homeowner money, and if there's no local incentive you can't do it," says SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive, on NPR.

"The companies are coming into Massachusetts, existing companies are growing in Massachusetts, and they're creating jobs," says Rick Sullivan Jr., Massachusetts' secretary of energy and environmental affairs, as reported by NPR. "They're becoming a very important part of the economy."

According to Ian Andrew on the Greener Ideal site, this is Google's seventh alternative-energy project, with about $680 million invested into these projects. Google stands to gain a 30% tax credit from the federal government, the ability to write off the projects on a depreciation schedule, interest income from SolarCity, and the benefit of state and local tax credits for renewable-energy projects.

"The goal of all these programs is to support and create a market in renewable energies, particularly solar, and then the free market will take over and you'll see the costs of installations come down and the cost of power come down so that the rebates and the incentives can ultimately go away," Rive says.

Solar and clean-energy sector ETFs include the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE: TAN  ) , Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (NYSE: KWT  ) , Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF (NYSE: GEX  ) , PowerShares Global Clean Energy Portfolio (NYSE: PBD  ) , and iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index Fund (NYSE: ICLN  ) .

Google is a top holding in sector ETFs such as First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index, with a weight of 9.51%. PowerShares Nasdaq Internet Portfolio (Nasdaq: PNQI  ) gives about 8% to Google.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

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