Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Google Goes Solar


With enough power for 1,000 average homes, Google's will be the largest solar electricity installation of any company in the country.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — EI Solutions, the systems integration arm of Energy Innovations Inc., will begin constructing a solar electricity system for Google's Mountain View, Calif.-based headquarters.

With a total capacity of 1.6 megawatts — enough to supply 1,000 average California homes — Google's headquarters will be the largest solar installation on any corporate campus in the United States and one of the largest on any corporate site in the world, according to the search engine specialist.

The project will involve 9,212 solar panels provided by Sharp Electronics. A majority will be placed on the rooftops of some of the buildings in the "Googleplex" and parking lots. The solar energy will be used to power several of Google's Mountain View office facilities.

Google has a strong interest in solar. A startup originally funded by Google in June announced a $100 million financing package and set plans to build what the company claims as the world's largest solar-cell manufacturing facility in California.

Presently in pilot production in its Palo Alto, Calif.-based facility, the solar-cell startup — Nanosolar — has started ordering volume production equipment for use in a factory said to have a total annual cell output of 430-megawatts (MW) once fully built out, or approximately 200 million cells per year.

The company's first volume factory will be located in the San Francisco Bay area. At present, though, Google is apparently using Sharp's solar panels for its campus and not those from Nanosolar.

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