Google basks in $4.5 million solar-energy incentives

Google flips the On switch for its 9,212 panel installation, demonstrates vehicle-to-grid technology

Google flips the On switch for its 9,212 panel installation, demonstrates vehicle-to-grid technology

Google basks in $4.5 million solar-energy incentives
There's no doubt about it: Google is one power-hungry company. I'm speaking from an energy-consumption perspective, of course, and the company is take eco-friendly steps to sate that hunger.

Google today announced the completion of a 1.6 megawatt photovoltaic system at its Mountain View, Calif.-based Googleplex, a project that has reaped the search behemoth approximately $4.5 million in incentives from PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric).

Google's solar installation is the largest on any corporate campus to date, generating enough electricity to power 1,000 homes. The company will use the energy to power of its several Mountain View facilities, "offsetting approximately 30 percent of the peak electricity consumption at those buildings," according to the announcement.

The announcement was made the same day that Google and PG&E demonstrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology, another plank in Google's green platform.

"Today's demonstration provides a glimpse of what we are calling the new energy economy," said Brad Whitcomb, vice president of customer products and services for PG&E. "Through our collaboration with Google, we are showing how the high-tech, transportation and energy sectors are intersecting to meet our country's growing energy needs and protect the environment."

V2G technology allows for the bi-directional sharing of electricity between electric vehicles and the electric power grid. The technology essentially transforms each vehicle into an energy storage system, thus increasing power reliability and the amount of renewable energy available to the grid during peak power usage.

PHEVs (plug-in electric hybrid vehicles) include additional battery capacity, which boost the vehicle's ability to run completely on electricity. Down the road, converted PHEVs could as a repository for excess solar energy that could be fed back into Google facilities during peak hours, according to the announcement.

Google's solar installation will boast 9,212 solar cell modules, manufactured by Sharp and capable of producing up to 208 watts of power each, according to reports.

PG&E is handing Google an incentive check for $4.5 million for the solar installation. The utility has interconnected more than 16,000 solar customers who generate more than 100 MWs of solar energy. Through the California Solar Initiative, PG&E will be able to provide almost $950 million in rebates over the next 10 years to help customers purchase their own solar systems.

For more information about about PG&E's incentive programs, go to

For a peek at Google's solar installation, go here.


Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.