Google invests US$168m in largest solar energy power plant

12 Apr 2011

Google has invested US$168m in a new solar energy power plant in the Mojave Desert in California, developed by BrightSource Energy.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) will generate 392 gross MW of solar energy, which, according to Google, is the equivalent of taking more than 90,000 cars off the road over the 25-year lifetime of the plant.

“We’re excited about Ivanpah because our investment will help deploy a compelling solar energy technology that provides reliable clean energy with the potential to significantly reduce costs on future projects,” said Rick Needham, director of Green Business Operations.

The Ivanpah Power Tower will be about 138 metres high and will use 173,000 heliostats, each with two mirrors.

This will be the first power tower on such a large scale. Engineering firm Bechtel began construction, which is to be complete in 2013.

The project will also be financed by NRG, along with clean energy technology loan guarantees provided by the US Department of Energy.

Google has invested more than US$250m in the clean-energy sector to date, marking this investment as its largest yet. The company recently invested €3.5m in a solar photovoltaic power plant in Germany, the first investment it made in clean energy outside of the US.