Google Invests $103 Million In California Solar Plant

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Google is investing big time in renewable energy projects. The search engine’s latest investment is $103 million in a 265.7 megawatt (MW) solar project in Southern California, called Imperial Valley Solar 1 (IVS-1). The project is Google’s 13th investment in renewable energy projects. The company has invested over $1 billion in renewable energy projects that will generate at least two gigawatts of power, enough to power 500,000 homes.
 
Silver Ridge Power LLC is developing the new solar facility. Silver Ridge is a joint venture between AES Corp., a utility owner, and Riverstone Holdings LLC, a private equity firm investing mostly in energy. Silver Ridge has about 522 MW of power in operation in its global portfolio in seven countries. After it is completed next year, the power from the IVS-1 project will be sold to San Diego Gas & Electric Co. under a 25-year power purchase agreement. 
 
IVS-I will generate enough electricity to power 80,000 homes, and will create over 900 construction jobs in a state that has an unemployment rate of 8.9 percent. IVS-1 is the first of four phases of a 600 MW PV facility. The second stage will be 150 MW and is expected to begin operation at the end of 2005. The third stage is 150 MW and is expected to begin operation by 2016. The fourth stage is 100 MW and expected to begin operation by 2016. 
 
All but two of the other 12 investments are in the U.S., which include the following: 
  • A $200 million investment in a 161 MW wind farm in Oldham County, Texas that will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes.
  • A $75 million investment in a 50 MW wind farm in Rippey, Iowa that will generate enough electricity to power over 15,000 homes.
  • A $94 million investment in four solar PV projects being built near Sacramento, California with a total capacity of 88 MW that will generate enough electricity to power over 13,000 homes.
  • An investment totaling a 37.5 percent equity stake in the Atlantic Wind Connection, which will be 250 miles along the eastern coast from New Jersey to Virginia and will enable up to 7,000 MW of offshore wind power to be connected and provide enough electricity to power 1.9 million homes.
  • A $157 million investment in two wind projects in the Mojave Desert that total 270 MW.
  • A $100 million investment in an 845 MW wind farm in Arlington, Oregon that will generate enough electricity to power 235,000 homes. 
  • A $38.8 million investment in two wind farms in North Dakota that generate 169.5 MW of power.
  • A $75 million investment in Clean Power Finance, a company that provides financing for rooftop solar in nine states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey and New York).
Google has invested in two projects outside of the U.S. One of them is a 94 MW solar PV plant in South Africa called the Jasper Power Project that will generate enough electricity to power 30,000 homes. The other is a solar power facility in Brandenburg, Germany which has a peak capacity of 18.65 MW, generating enough electricity to power over 5,000 homes.
 
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Photo: Flickr user, Mark Udall

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