Google’s solar energy investment shows signs of life

September 26, 2013 0 By Erin Kilgore
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Solar energy becoming more important to businesses around the world

Renewable energy has begun to attract a great deal of attention in the world of business. Many large companies throughout the world have been moving to embrace clean power in the hopes of skirting emissions regulations coming from the world’s governments and cut the costs associated with fossil-fuels. Some of these companies are making use of clean power for environmental reasons, as well, hoping to reduce their impact on the environment and help mitigate the potential effects of climate change. Solar energy has become one of the most attractive forms of clean power for these companies.

Google investment helps build ambitious solar energy system

Google is among the most prolific advocates of solar energy. The company has been investing in several projects over the years, but one of these investments is beginning to show signs of life. In 2011, Google invested $168 million into the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System based in California. The project is billed as the world’s largest solar thermal system in the world and boasts of a total capacity of 392 megawatts, double the current solar thermal capacity in the entirety of the country.

Solar Energy - Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating SystemSystem reaches first major milestone

The funds provided by Google aided in the construction of the ambitious solar energy system. Now, the system has achieved is significant “first sync” milestone, proving that the facility’s technology and photovoltaic modules are working properly. The facility will soon begin its “steam blows” phase, wherein sunlight is concentrated to convert water into steam. During this phase, various aspects of the solar energy system will be monitored in order to ensure that the steam generated by the system does not damage any of its components.

Solar facility located on public land

The solar energy system is expected to complete construction later this year but is unlikely to begin producing significant amounts of energy until sometime in 2014.  The system is built on public land in the Mohave Desert and is being developed by BrightSource Energy, a leading solar energy company. Google is only one of several investors that have shown a strong interest in the project.