From the Internet to solar energy is not a usual expansion of corporate ownership. But Google is now playing with the Big Boys, like General Electric that builds wind turbines, nuclear plant parts and owns numerous content websites. Through their investment foundation at google.org, Google has joined Idealab and Oak Investment Partners to back a start-up, esolar. Based in Pasadena, esolar's planning to make and market modular, pre-fab solar plants that can be installed at existing facilities, not build new plants from the ground up.
Esolar's projected business thus would reduce need for new transmission infrastructyure and its modular components would be adapatable in various arrays and under varying cirucumstances. Their target: affordable solar units for existing electric utilities.
Idealab is one the more interesting VC firms in Silicon Valley. Here's what they say about themselves: "Bill Gross started Idealab in 1996 to create and operate pioneering technology companies. The structure of Idealab has allowed us to test many ideas at once and turn the best of them into companies, attracting the human and financial capital necessary to bring them to market."
Idealab has previously been involved in start-ups such as goto.com and citysearch.