Will Google Soon Be Powering Your Home?

by Mark Wellborn

A BrightSource Energy project in Israel. Image courtesy of BrightSource Energy.

The answer to the question posed in this headline (if you live in DC) is probably not anytime soon, but Google is making some serious investments in the solar energy world. The Associated Press reported yesterday that the search engine giant is investing $168 million in an “alternative power project that aims to produce enough solar energy to light 140,000 homes.”

Specifically, Google is helping BrightSource Energy finance the construction of a solar power plant in California’s Mojave Desert that will produce 392 gross megawatts of clean energy when it is completed in 2013.

What does “392 gross megawatts” translate to, you might ask? Well, while the AP reports that the project will produce enough energy to “light” 140,000 homes, a press release from the Department of Energy quotes California senator Diane Feinstein as saying that the plant will “provide clean power to 85,000 homes.”

The AP reports that this is but one of many projects that Google is funding “that promise[s] to generate energy from other sources besides oil and coal.” The company can make such large investments because (surprise, surprise) it has a fair amount of cash on hand:

The investment in BrightSource’s solar energy plant represents Google’s biggest bet on so-called clean energy so far. The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., can afford to take some chances. It ended last year with about $35 billion in cash.

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/will_google_soon_be_powering_your_home/3314

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