$94M investment in solar power plants caps off Google's year

$94M investment in solar power plants caps off Google's year

Summary: Google has made one last renewable energy investment in 2011: $94 million towards solar power plants in Sacramento, California.

TOPICS: Telcos, Banking, Google

In all the pre-holiday shuffle, we missed last week's announcement that Google was ending 2011 with another $94 million investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) projects, bringing the search giant to a total of $915 spent on clean energy initiatives. But where most of Google's solar PV initiatives have focused on power for individual homes, it's now taking the broader view by funding solar plant projects that provide energy to the whole grid.

According to Google's official blog entry, it's working alongside global investment firm KKR and solar developer Recurrent Energy. Google's $94 million is an equity investment, with KKR-founded venture SunTap Energy providing the rest. It's KKR's first entry into the US renewable energy market, to boot.

When complete, the Google-funded solar plant projects will provide "88 MW, equivalent to the electricity consumed by more than 13,000 homes," the company claims in that same blog entry.

Google's already inked a contract with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) to provide power to Sacramento-area locals for twenty years. SMUD, for its part, recently launched a feed-in tariff program (FIT) to help make its own grid more green. These new solar PV plants are the first built under that program.

As mentioned above, the last time Google announced a solar initiative, it was as part of a $75 million program to make the technology affordable for homeowners. And before that, Google had invested $102 million into wind power facilities.

Google may have put a stop a significant part of its internal renewable energy research, but it's clear that the 'Plex still has green on its collective mind.

Topics: Telcos, Banking, Google

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  • Let us hope that they do better then the US government

    in choosing a company to invest in, as opposed to the US government, who loaned the company Solyndra 528 million dollars only to have the company declare bankruptcy, and close their doors.
    Tim Cook
    • Funny how some people seem to think...

      @Mister Spock
      ...that Solyndra is the first company to ever receive government guaranteed loans and then go bankrupt. If they only knew that startups, even with government funding, tend to have a 25% failure rate the first year, rising to 36% the second year and 44% by the third year. The alternative to the government guaranteed loans is to have commercial banks recognize this enormous failure rate and simply not lend to startup companies at all. America certainly wouldn't be the land of opportunity in that scenario.
      • I had never said that

        Solyndra was the first company to ever receive government a loan and then go bankrupt.

        I was merely stating an opinion, based on fact.
        Tim Cook
      • They were not the 1st .....

        @jasonp@... ... but they were the 1st to be denied a loan, then given a much bigger government guaranteed loan as a kickback from a new administration.<br><br>Everybody keeps conveniently forgetting that a lot of the members of the board of directors at Solyndra were heavily involved politically with the current administration ... starting with the Al Gore.
    • RE: $94M investment in solar power plants caps off Google's year

      @Mister Spock
      As others have pointed out, the problem wasn't the venture capital system (it works, even with high failure rates) nor the idea of govt. funding of new ideas (DARPA created v1.0 of the internet, for example). Solyndra typifies the dishonest, agenda driven waste that poisons taxpayer willingness to put up with govt. involvement in any investment, especially one that clearly has "climate change" written on a huge banner in the back of the room. Anyone who has swallowed the climate change "blue pill" is welcome to invest/waste his/her $ on it, but don't waste $ my grandchildren, who aren't even born yet, must earn to pay the govt. debt back!

      I welcome Google's investment in flat panel photovoltaic power generation, which does work and has a proven track record. It can't economically compete with cheaper and cheaper (and increasingly cleaner) natural gas, but Google knows that, and they need to score points with the state where they are headquartered. This is what free markets are for...