Google has invested $145 million in SunEdison’s Regulus solar project, which is being built on a 743-acre southeast of Bakersfield, Calif. The site formerly hosted up to 30 oil wells, which tapered to five as the economically recoverable oil was exhausted. Now with a new solar array underway on the site the plant will provide clean energy for generations.
“There's something a little poetic about creating a renewable resource on land that once creaked with oil wells,” wrote Google Renewable Energy Principal Nick Coons on Google’s Official Blog. “The land sat for some time and today we’re ready to spiff things up. With the help of our $145 million equity commitment, SunEdison is draping it in high-tech, sleek panels that collect energy from the sun, while bringing 650 jobs to the Kern County area and 82 megawatts of clean energy to the grid.” That’s enough to power roughly 10,000 homes.
SunEdison said that the project is under a 20-year power-purchase agreement with Southern California Edison (SCE). The utility will use the power produced as part of its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requirements.
Google has made a number of significant investments in renewable energy and solar power over the past few years, including a total of $178 million in BrightSource’s Ivanpah concentrating solar power tower system. But the company also has invested in residential solar companies, including investing $280 million in a SolarCity fund to support residential solar projects. It’s also invested $100 million in a $250 million SunPower fund to support residential installations on homes. In all the company said it has invested in 17 renewable energy projects since 2010. More recently the company launched a new challenge to make solar power inverters smaller and less expensive.
“We’re continually looking for newer, bigger and better projects that help us create a clean energy future,” Coons said. “The more than $1.5 billion we’ve brought to these projects to date not only helps provide renewable energy to the grid and to the public, but as they perform, they allow us to invest in more renewable energy projects. This cycle makes financial sense for Google and our partners while supporting construction jobs in local communities and clean energy for the planet we share.”Tweet