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Google And KKR To Invest In Six Solar Plants

Internet superstar Google are teaming up with global investment firm KKR to invest in six utility-scale solar facilities located throughout California and Arizona, in what will be the company’s 14th renewable energy investment.

Announced on Thursday, Google and KKR — along with the solar developer, Recurrent Energy — the projects will have a combined capacity of 106 MW and upon completion will generate enough electricity to power over 17,000 average US homes.

This won’t be the first time these three companies have worked together, after making a similar announcement regarding an investment in four utility-scale solar facilities near Sacramento, California, in December of 2011.

“Google and KKR’s continued partnership with Recurrent Energy showcases their strong commitment to a clean energy future,” said Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy. “Their leadership in clean energy investment further validates solar as an integral part of our energy economy.”

The 17.5 MWac/22 MWp Victor Phelan project (pictured), located in San Bernardino, Calif., is part of six Recurrent Energy developed projects acquired by Google and KKR. The six-project portfolio is expected to operational by early 2014 and will generate enough clean electricity to power more than 17,000 U.S. homes.

The 17.5 MWac/22 MWp Victor Phelan project (pictured), located in San Bernardino, Calif., is part of six Recurrent Energy developed projects acquired by Google and KKR. The six-project portfolio is expected to operational by early 2014 and will generate enough clean electricity to power more than 17,000 U.S. homes.

Google have already invested over $1 billion into renewable energy projects around the world, describing them as “all part of our drive toward a clean energy future—where renewable energy is abundant, accessible and affordable.”

“By continuing to invest in renewable energy projects, purchasing clean energy for our operations and working with our utility partners to create new options for ourselves and for other companies interest in buying renewable energy, we’re working hard to make that future a reality,” said Kojo Ako-Asare, Head of Corporate Finance on the Google Blog announcement.

“Investing in renewable energy is core to Google’s values-we believe strongly in making investments that are both good for the environment and good for business, ” said Ako-Asare. “We’re proud to continue our partnership with KKR and Recurrent Energy by investing in these fantastic solar facilities.”

“This partnership is ultimately about growing our clean energy resources in North America,” said Ravi Gupta, a senior member of KKR’s Infrastructure team. “As states like California and Arizona adopt high standards for the use of renewable energy, we believe private capital partners can play an important role in helping them meet those goals.”

The six solar plants will provide electric power to nearby local utilities and municipal offtakers under long-term Power Purchase Agreements, with AP noting that Southern California Edison will be among the utilities involved.

Unsurprisingly, Google has regularly been in the news with initiatives to use more and more renewable energy, and to invest in it’s proliferation. In June of this year, Google sealed an exclusive agreement with the new Maevaara wind farm in Sweden to provide its Finnish data center with power for the next ten years. As Tina Casey reported, the agreement marks “Google’s first ever long-term renewable energy agreement in Europe.”

In September Google announced another power purchase agreement, this time purchasing the entire output of the 240 MW Happy Hereford wind farm located outside of Amarillo, Texas. The agreement was the fifth long term agreement the company has made, and the largest to date.

While in October, continuing the company’s promise to continue seeking more renewable energy solutions, Google announced that they were investing $103 into the 265.7 MW Mount Signal Solar project in California that’s being developed by solar developer Silver Ridge Power. Writing on the Google Green blog, Ako-Asare said:

Like many states, California has a goal of increasing the amount of energy procured from renewable sources. The energy from Mount Signal Solar, which has been contracted to San Diego Gas & Electric, will help California meet this goal. The project, which is owned and operated by Silver Ridge Power (formerly AES Solar), will also create over 900 construction jobs in a part of the state that suffers from high unemployment.

AP reported that the investment totaled $400 million, a figure that doesn’t appear anywhere in either the Google, KKR, or Recurrent Energy press releases. However, Bloomberg note in their story that “the total transaction is worth $400 million, according to a person familiar with the deal who asked not to be identified because the transaction value hasn’t been disclosed.”

The solar facilities involved in the purchase include five projects located in Southern California, and one in Arizona. The six projects are all expected to be operational by January 2014, significantly adding to the operational renewable energy Google has a hand in.

Recurrent Energy Sacramento-Area Solar Project

Recurrent Energy Sacramento-Area Solar Project

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