Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Corporate solar is coming

Epic games of beach volleyball, urban indoor workspaces infused with natural light, enthusiasm for the outdoors – at Google, we've always taken advantage of the sun. And now we're ready to use the sun yet another way: to create clean electricity.

Soon we plan to begin installation of 1.6 megawatts of solar photovoltaic panels at our Mountain View campus. This project will be the largest solar installation on any corporate campus in the U.S., and we think it's one of the largest on any corporate site in the world. The panels will cover the roofs of the four main buildings of the Googleplex, and also those of two additional buildings across the street. There will also be a portion of this installation on new solar panel support structures in a few parking lots. The amount of electricity that will be generated is equivalent to powering about 1,000 average California homes. We’ll use that electricity to power several of our Mountain View office facilities, offsetting approximately 30% of our peak electricity consumption at those buildings.

To tackle this ambitious project, we're partnering with EI Solutions. The installation of clean and renewable power represents a first step in reducing our environmental impact as a company. We believe that improving our environmental practices is not only our responsibility as a corporate citizen, but good business planning -- a new report from the North American Electric Reliability Council suggests that demand continues to outstrip power supply by a considerable margin. And of course by saving electricity (not to mention producing clean renewable energy), we also save money. In fact, we believe this project demonstrates that a large investment in renewable energy can be profitable.

If the business community continues to increase investments and focus on energy efficient and renewable power generation technologies, we have a good feeling that our future will be bright. If you're interested, visit the Solar Electric Power Association.

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