Google’s green credentials boosted with giant solar project

Google has announced it is putting forward $145m to fund a new 82MW solar power plant in California, marking the IT giant's 17th investment in renewable energy projects since 2010.

The new deal, struck with SunEdison, will see a 737-acre solar PV plant installed on an abandoned gas and oil field in Kern County; generating enough energy to power 10,000 homes.

Announcing the news on the company’s green blog earlier this week, Google’s renewable energy principle Nick Coons said: “Our investment in the Regulus solar project will give new life to a long-valued piece of land, and there’s something a little poetic about creating a renewable resource on land that once creaked with oil wells.

“Like many states, California has a goal of increasing the amount of energy procured from renewable sources. This project helps support that quest and marks 17 renewable energy investments for Google since 2010, including five here in the Golden State.

“We’re continually looking for newer, bigger and better projects that help us create a clean energy future. The more than $1.5 billion we’ve brought to these projects to date not only helps provide renewable energy to the grid and to the public, but as they perform, they allow us to invest in more renewable energy projects.”

Google Green

The announcement came on the same day that Google released an annual update on its overall carbon performance via a revamped ‘Google Green’ website. For 2013, the firm reported a carbon footprint of 1.77 million metric tons, up slightly from 2012, but the update points out that Google’s data center efficiency initiatives, renewable energy purchases and high-quality carbon offset purchases brought its footprint back down to zero.

Overall, 35% of Google’s energy for its operations, including offices, data centers and other infrastructure, came from renewable sources last year. Earlier in 2014, edie reported that the IT giant had struck a seperate deal for its data centre in Iowa to be supplied with up to 407MW of energy generated by wind.

Luke Nicholls

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