Google has been a clean energy leader for a long time (see my post on 7 of Google’s top clean energy investments from earlier this year for more on that). While it dropped a major solar R&D initiative recently, it seemed it did so in order to put more of its resources into clean energy deployment projects. That theory is holding true with an announcement today that it has invested $94 million into four solar photovoltaic (PV) projects currently being built close to Sacramento, California by Recurrent Energy.
Google’s Total Clean Energy Investments
In total, Google announced that its portfolio of clean energy investments has now reached $915 million. “We’ve already committed to providing funding this year to help more than 10,000 homeowners install solar PV panels on their rooftops,” Google noted. “But this investment represents our first investment in the U.S. in larger scale solar PV power plants that generate energy for the grid—instead of on individual rooftops.”
In total, Google’s new investments have a total installed power capacity of 88 megawatts (MW), “equivalent to the electricity consumed by more than 13,000 homes.”
Google really got into clean energy projects this year, investing $880 million into them since January. Aside from solar, it is a clear wind energy leader and has invested a ton of money into an offshore transmission project, or superhighway, for offshore wind (see the post linked at the top for more on that).
Google Investing in Solar Because It’s a Good Investment
Other than Google, Recurrent Energy and KKR are investing in these projects.
As we’ve noted soooo many times here on CleanTechnica, investment in solar isn’t just an environmentally friendly gesture any more — it’s a clear economic and financial winner.
“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,” Axel Martinez, Assistant Treasurer of Google Treasury, noted in the announcement.
Guess What Sacramento Municipal Utility District Has?
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is where the projects are being built. Any guess what it has going for it?
If you guessed “a feed-in tariff,” you got it!
“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,” Martinez made sure to mention, hopefully stimulating more such programs across the country.
I’m 100% sure Google isn’t done investing in clean energy, and I’m actually curious to see if its 2012 investments end up trumping its 2011 investments. Kudos to Google! And keep the news coming.
Google Going Solar photo via H2SO4