Google Ends 2011 With a $94 Million Investment in Solar Power

Google’s Renewable Energy Portfolion: $915m

Google has announced yet one more investment in clean energy (just following Warren Buffett’s two big solar power acquisitions). This time, they are investing $94 million into 4 different solar photovoltaic (PV) projects being built by Recurrent Energynear Sacramento, California. The combined PV projects have a capacity of 88 megawatts and will provide their electricity straight to the grid, unlike Google’s previous investments in rooftop solar PV. They should generate enough electricity to power about 13,000 US homes.

Another of Google’s solar investments, this one in concentrating thermal solar. Photo: Brightsource Energy, promo photo.

Google writes:

We’re investing alongside global investment firm KKR and Recurrent Energy, a leading solar developer. Google will provide a $94 million equity investment and SunTap Energy, a new venture formed today by KKR to invest in solar projects in the U.S., will provide the remaining equity. […]

The energy produced by these projects is already contracted for 20 years with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). SMUD recently created a feed-in tariff program (FIT) to help green the grid for Sacramento-area residents. We’re excited that these projects are the first to be built under the program.

As I said yesterday: It’s good to see interest in clean energy by the savviest investor around [I was talking about Buffett here, but Google is pretty savvy too]. If we are to clean up the power grid, we’ll need both governments and private financiers to invest a lot of money into costly infrastructure (costly at first, but after it’s up and running, the sun and wind are free).


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