HP finds savings in solar, wind power

Company is also researching nanowire photonics technology to make solar cells more efficient

In an effort to cut energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, HP is increasing its investments in renewable energy.

The company today announced plans to double its global purchase of renewable power from under 4 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2012. The announcement ties in to the company's ambition to cut energy consumption and resulting greenhouse gas emissions to 16 percent below 2005 levels by 2010.

[ Learn how other high-tech companies are reaping the benefits of clean tech. ]

Making strides toward achieving these goals, the company recently completed a 1.1-megawatt, 6,256 solar panel system at its facility in San Diego, installed by SunPower. HP expects to save $750,000 during the next 15 years thanks to the solar panels, which will provide more than 10 percent of the facility's power. The system will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 60 million pounds over the next 30 years, HP reports.

HP is also tapping into wind energy for two of its Austin datacenters. Through Austin's Green Choice program, the company has procured almost 19.9 million kWh of wind energy, representing nearly 20 percent of the annual energy used by the two centers.

As part of its announcement, HP revealed that HP Labs has initiated research that uses nanowire photonics to potentially increase the efficiency of solar cells to more than 20 percent. "This development allows solar cells to operate on a level of those used in expensive deep-space applications, while being manufactured at much lower costs, like those used in pocket calculators or to recharge portable devices," according to the company.

HP's energy-cutting efforts don't end with renewables: The company is reaping the benefits of consolidating three of its facilities in Melbourne, Australia. According to HP, "the new facility design included orienting the building to strategically reduce energy consumption associated with heating and cooling and using energy-efficient lighting. As a result, HP expects to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions by 70 percent."

Moreover, HP said that it's aiming to reduce the energy consumption of its volume desktop and notebook PC families by 25 percent, relative to 2005.