April 12, 2011

Google Invests $168 Million In Solar Energy

Google said on Monday that it has invested $168 million to help complete the construction of one of the world's largest solar energy power plants.

Bright Source Energy is developing the plant, which is located in California's Mojave Desert.

It will generate 392 gross megawatts (MW) of clean solar energy when it is completed in 2013, enough to supply power to 85,000 homes a year.

"That's the equivalent of taking more than 90,000 cars off the road over the lifetime of the plant, projected to be more than 25 years," Google's director of green business operations Rick Needham said in a blog post.

"The investment makes business sense and will help ensure that one of the world's largest solar energy projects is completed," Needham said.

The U.S. Department of Energy said in a statement that it has finalized $1.6 billion in loan guarantees to support the Ivanpah Solar Energy Generating System.

"Today's announcement is creating over 1,000 jobs in California while laying the foundation for thousands more clean energy jobs across the country in the future," US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement.

"Through the loan program we are supporting some of the largest, most innovative clean energy projects in the world, and those investments are helping us to out-compete and out-innovate our global competitors to win the future," Chu said.

President Barack Obama's administration has been encouraging companies to invest in green growth, calling it a new source of jobs and fearing that other nations are stealing the majority of the growth.

The Ivanpah project uses mirrors called heliostats to focus the rays of the sun onto a solar receiver on top of a tower.

The Ivanpah Power Tower will be 450 feet tall when it is completed and will use over 173,000 dual-mirror heliostats.

U.S. engineering giant Bechtel is building the project and construction began in October 2010.

Google said the BrightSource investment brings the company's total investment in clean energy projects to $250 million.


Image Caption: Construction at Ivanpah continues to progress. The image below is of Ivanpah's unit one solar field. Our low-impact design significantly minimizes the amount of land that needs to be graded in comparison to other technologies that grade the entire site. The heliostats will be placed in between the radial access roads and will be inserted directly in the ground, without the need for cement posts and avoiding areas of sensitive habitat. Courtesy of Bright Source


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