Google Puts Its Power Behind Solar

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"Don't Be Evil" is Google's corporate motto, and that extends to the tech giant's environmental initiatives as well. In its most recent move, Google has joined with private equity firm KKR to invest $400 million in solar power plants in California and Arizona. The six solar plants are under construction by Recurrent Energy LLC, with an expected completion date in January. Five of the solar plants are located in Southern California and one is in Arizona; when completed, they are expected to generate roughly 106 megawatts of power. Recurrent, which is based in San Francisco, already has three agreements to supply power from the solar plants to various entities. Reports say Google's equity stake in the deal is an estimated $80 million.

This isn't Google's first foray into solar investments, or its first show of support for renewable energy efforts. The company says it's earmarked more than $1 billion for clean energy projects around the world, and has an initiative called Google Green. Among the projects in its portfolio: wind farms throughout the United States, a solar facility in Germany, and a wind farm transmission line on the East Coast.

Google made a solar deal similar to this recent one back in 2011. The company and KKR previously invested in four Recurrent-operated solar farms near Sacramento, in a $350 million deal. Those solar farms have supplied power to Sacramento Municipal Utility District since spring 2012.

"You'd think the thrill might wear off this whole renewable energy investing thing after a while. Nope-we're still as into it as ever," was how the latest deal was announced on Google's blog. "These investments are 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."

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