GE Doubled Solar Energy Investments In 2011

GE Energy Financial Services has announced 2011 was a record year for its global solar power investments, with the company doubling its solar spending commitments in the past year to $1.4 billion, reaching a total of nearly $5 billion in projects. 
   
GE’s reached the milestone after a $100 million investment in a 127-megawatt (MW) project that will be built in Arizona. GE Energy Financial Services says its one-gigawatt portfolio spans 48 solar power plants in six countries: Australia, Canada, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the United States. 
    
Kevin Walsh, managing director and leader of power and renewable energy at GE Energy, believes that this level of investment has helped not only GE but the entire solar power industry grow. “We continue to seek to invest in the best solar power projects – with solid partners, power contracts and proven technology.”
   
GE Energy Financial Services’ latest investment is in LS Power’s $550 million Arlington Valley Solar Energy II project, a photovoltaic solar farm near Arlington, Arizona, 40 miles west of Phoenix in Maricopa County. 
  
The solar farm – located on approximately 1,160 acres – will provide enough clean, affordable energy to power approximately 53,000 California homes and avoid 215,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year; equivalent to taking 38,000 cars off the road. 
 
When operational at the end of 2013, San Diego Gas & Electric will buy the power from the plant, which also will help California meet its target of generating 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. 
 
In 2011, GE dramatically scaled up its solar spending, investing in a 50-megawatt portfolio of solar PV farms in Canada; a 10-megawatt solar PV project in Australia; a 550-megawatt solar PV project in the United States, a 50-megawatt concentrated solar plant in Spain and a 20-megawatt solar PV power plant atop a greenhouse in Italy. 
 
“We started last year with the goal of increasing our investments in solar power given improving solar technologies and decreasing costs, and have exceeded our own expectations by doubling our portfolio, investing in attractive projects across the globe,” says Alex Urquhart, president and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services.