Google Invests In Four Solar PV Farms

Google’s love affair with PV-based solar continues, with an announcement last night that the giant of search is splashing cash on solar farms to be built in California.

In partnership with investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), Google is investing $94 million in a portfolio of four solar panel based projects in the state, to be constructed near Sacramento by Recurrent Energy.

The facilities have a total capacity of 88 MW, enough to provide for the electricity needs of more than 13,000 homes. Power generated by the solar farms will be purchased by Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) for the next 20 years.

Google says this is its first U.S. investment in larger scale solar PV farms. However, the company has been no slouch when it comes to supporting solar PV in the USA.

In September this year, Google announced a $75 million investment to help home owners install residential rooftop solar energy systems; an investment dwarfed by the company’s creation of a $280 million fund in June, also to finance home solar power installations.

Among Google’s other renewable energy investments and purchases:

– a 49% stake in a solar farm in Germany.
– $168 million on the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System
– $55 million stake in a 102 megawatt wind power project in California.
– Power purchase agreement with a 114 megawatt wind farm in Iowa
– $100 million investment in the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon
– $38.8 million stake in two wind farms in North Dakota.
– Investment in the USA’s Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) backbone

Google’s own Mountain View headquarters also has 1.6 megawatts of rooftop solar panels installed on various structures around the campus that generate around 30% of the peak power required in those buildings.

Since the beginning of 2011, Google says it has invested more than USD$880 million in clean energy projects, bringing its total portfolio to USD$915 million.