January 6, 2015

Google Backs Utah’s Largest Solar Power Plant

Sunus Solar’s Notes:

It seems Google has its investment sights set on Utah now. For those of us who have lived here years or our entire life, solar plants seem to be a natural fit to Utah’s landscape and climate. Over the years I have grown more and more conscerned for our backyard being used for waste disposal, but this is one project I can get behind.

Google Backs Utah’s Largest Solar Power Plant

Originally posted on wsj.com
Written By Alistair Barr

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Google invested in San Bernardino, California’s Victor Phelan solar energy project in 2013. Now it’s funding Utah’s biggest solar plant yet. Recurrent Energy

Google GOOGL -2.53% is backing another renewable energy project, this time with Norwegian power company Scatec Solar SSO.OS -2.19%. The two have teamed up to build Utah’s largest solar power plant.

Google and Scatec, along with Prudential Capital Group, are investing about $188 million in the Utah Red Hills Renewable Energy Park. When up and running at the end of 2015, the plant will generate roughly 210 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, enough for approximately 18,500 homes.

Google is the tax equity investor in the deal, which means it will pay a portion of the project’s cost in return for tax incentives and a share of the facility’s income.

This is Google’s eighteenth renewable energy investment. The company has invested over $1.5 billion in solar and wind projects across three continents with a total planned capacity of more than 2.5 gigawatts, greater than that of the Arizona’s Hoover Dam. The electricity produced by these projects is expected to far exceed the amount Google itself consumes, the company said.

Google invests in renewable projects for a few reasons. It aims to reduce its carbon footprint and increasingly uses solar to power its huge data centers (although the Utah project will not serve Google data centers). But Google is also looking for ways to generate healthy returns on its large cash holdings. Solar and wind investments, with their accompanying tax incentives, offer this potential.

Scatec teamed up with Google and Prudential because they are experienced renewable energy investors that understand the projects and the risks involved, according to Luigi Resta, managing director of Scatec Solar North America…

Read the whole blog on wsj.com