Houston: Online search and advertising giant Google is making a USD 94 million investment in four solar energy farms near Sacramento in California in partnership with investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co, bringing the company's portfolio of clean energy projects to almost USD 1 billion.
Google, on its Green Blog, said that it will spend USD 94 million on the projects.
They also will receive equity from SunTap Energy RE LLC, a venture formed by KKR to invest in US solar projects.
The projects are expected to provide electricity to power more than 13,000 average US homes.
Electricity produced by three of the projects is contracted for 20 years with the utility district, Google said.
Construction on three of the four projects will be completed early next year, and the fourth will come on line later in the year.
KKR said SunTap represents its first US renewable energy investment. It also has invested in a French wind farm operator and a Spanish solar energy company.
Google said it has invested more than USD 915 million in clean energy projects, including USD 800 million this year.
Google has invested in wind farms in North Dakota, California and Oregon, solar projects in California and Germany, and a project off the East coast of the US meant to help make offshore wind farms possible.
It has been a busy year of clean energy investment for Google, which has put more than USD 880 million into the sector this year alone.
Among those projects is the Brightsource Ivanpah project, a 450-foot-fall solar power tower located in the Mojave Desert. Google invested USD 168 million in that project, the company's largest investment to date.
The clean energy investments are part of an ongoing initiative at Google to develop renewable power sources that are less expensive than coal, with the goal of converting entirely to clean energy by 2030.
"We believe investing in the renewable energy sector makes business sense and hope clean energy projects continue to attract new sources of capital to help the world move towards a more sustainable energy future," wrote Google Treasury assistant treasurer Axel Martinez.
Additionally, Google is making donations to more than a dozen organizations this holiday season, for a total of USD 40 million in grants.
Besides its anti-slavery initiative, Google is also supporting groups that promote math programme, science, technology and engineering; education of girls in developing countries; and programmes for empowerment through technology.
Martinez said the solar energy investment Google is announcing today brings the total on Google's clean energy investment portfolio to more than USD 915 million.
First Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 10:19