Tech giant Google is continuing to grow its renewable energy investment portfolio. On Thursday, Google announced a $75 million equity investment in an Iowa wind farm, bringing Google’s total company-wide renewable energy investment to $990 million.
After shutting down its renewable energy R&D operations last year, Google has since been pouring investment dollars into renewable energy project financing and it still looks to purchase renewable energy and generating installations for their vast energy needs. Google has also agreed to long term Power Purchasing Agreements from NextEra and other companies who operate wind and solar facilities. Though the energy coming from the facilities may be slightly higher priced today, Google expects the rates they locked-in to be much cheaper than traditional energy in the long term. Google views these investments not only as a way to protect the earth from client change, but also as a prudent business practice.
One such investment that Google publicizes on its website is the 1.7 MW solar PV array that they installed on the roofs of the buildings at their Mountain View, California corporate campus in 2007. This installation provides 30% of the total energy needed by all of the buildings it sits atop and is set to pay for itself by the end of next year barring a 18 months of continuous clouds.
When analyzing a potential renewable energy project in hopes of reducing Google’s corporate carbon footprint two criteria must be met. First, the investment has to make good business sense. Secondly, it must be utilizing renewable technologies that could be game-changers, or as Goggle puts it “must have long-term potential to transform the industry.”
These types of investments are innovative in showing that banks aren’t the only ones that can make money off of renewable energy investments. Let’s hope that some other companies will take note and start investing in renewable energy to help both their income statements and the world we all occupy.