Google’s clean energy investments are nearing US$1bn

20 Dec 2011

Google has marked the end of the year with a new US$94m investment in a portfolio of four solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in California, the company revealed today.

The acquisition of the PV projects, built in Sacramento, California, by Recurrent Energy, brings to almost US$915m Google’s portfolio of clean-energy investments. Since January, the internet giant invested more than US$880m in clean-energy investments.

“We’ve already committed to providing funding this year to help more than 10,000 homeowners install solar PV panels on their rooftops,” explained Axel Martinez, assistant treasurer at Google Treasury.

“But this investment represents our first investment in the US in larger-scale solar PV power plants that generate energy for the grid – instead of on individual rooftops. These projects have a total capacity of 88 MW, equivalent to the electricity consumed by more than 13,000 homes.”

In the official Google blog, Martinez said Google is investing US$94m alongside global investment firm KKR and Recurrent Energy. SunTap Energy, a new venture formed by KKR to focus on US solar projects, will provide the remaining equity.

Towards a sustainable energy future

“We believe investing in the renewable energy sector makes business sense and hope clean energy projects continue to attract new sources of capital to help the world move towards a more sustainable energy future.”

Martinez said the energy produced by the projects is contracted for 20 years with the Sacramento Municipal district (SMUD), which has developed a feed-in tariff programme to help green the grid for residents in the area.

“We believe the world needs a wide range of solutions – from wind, to transmission, to solar PV and concentrated solar – and we look forward to new opportunities next year to further expand our portfolio of clean-energy investments,” Martinez said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years