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Google Goes Green; invests in solar power tower Ivanpah

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Google Goes Green

Google invests in world's largest solar power tower, Ivanpah

Google has announced its green commitment to the world by investing $168 million in what will be the world’s largest solar power tower plant.

The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, to be located in California’s Mojave Desert, is being developed by BrightSource Energy. Construction of this 450 ft tall tower began in October 2010 and is being looked after by one of the world’s leading construction companies, Bechtel.

The project will be funded by clean energy technology guarantees offered by the U.S. Department of Energy and by NRG.

Generation Green-Goodwill

With the company voicing great excitement over having invested this significant amount of money in the Ivanpah project, Google is likely to accumulate some positive karma through this move, after its recent issues with FTC's possible antitrust investigation and face-offs with Microsoft.

With an estimated generation of 392 gross megawatts of solar energy over its lifespan of over 25 years, the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System offers the promise of taking 90,000 cars of the road over the plant's lifetime.

And Google absolutely wants to be in on building a clean energy future, according to Rick Needham, Google’s Director of Green Business Operations, and is ready to make smart investments towards this goal.

Like Needham said in one of his statements on Google’s official blog, “We need smart capital to transform our energy sector and build a clean energy future. This is our largest investment to date, and we’ve now invested over $250 million in the clean energy sector.”

“We’re excited about Ivanpah because our investment will help deploy a compelling solar energy technology that provides reliable clean energy, with the potential to significantly reduce costs on future projects” he added

Power Towers: Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System

BrightSource Energy CEO John Woolard

BrightSource Energy CEO John Woolard_Ivanpah groundbreaking

With its functioning based on an assembly consisting of 173,000 heliostats, the Ivanpah project is expected to be completed in 2013. When constructed, Ivanpah will be the first large-scale solar thermal project built in California in nearly two decades, and the largest in the world.

As an understanding of the process that will be employed by the Ivanpah project for generating energy, the heliostats - mirrors that focus the sun's rays onto a solar receiver located at the top of the tower – will enable concentration of a large amount of solar energy onto one small area. This would further enable the solar receiver to generate steam that spins a turbine and generates electricity.

Having received a conditional commitment for a $1.375 billion loan guarantee by the US Department of Energy to help fund this project, when construction of the Ivanpah project is complete in 2013, the solar complex will nearly double the amount of commercial solar thermal electricity produced in the U.S. today.

The electricity generated by all three plants at the Ivanpah solar complex is enough to serve more than 140,000 homes in California.


  • Pius Lwande says:

    This the biggest step made in the right direction that is demonstrating that we should all go GREEN. Environmental conservation for posterity move by Google is worth commending. Cheers I am with you all the way from Kenya.

  • Christian Knaack says:

    Nice project. I would like to see, in the near future, such technology in the driest spot in the earth – The Atacama desert (Chile). The amount of radiation in that region is wonderful.

    Thanks and keep going GREEN.

  • Sad Human says:

    Forget ecosystems and the planetary scale of things – how about people learn to accept their biology and live within it at the level of *their own body*. It might help if rich fools quit driving and flying all over the place in search of mindless distractions. Using the “solar power” captured by prehistoric plants and animals (that’s what oil is) to drive to an exercise class because you’re overwieght from not eating correctly and never walking anywhere is not only unsustainable it’s disrespectful.

    At least our extinction will be ironic in the Seinfeld sense of we were a species about nothing …

  • Building Solar Panels says:

    You really have a way with words, I love this article and it has a fresh take on the topic I hope a lot of people read it.

  • […] in smart energy, green initiatives, with the more recent ones in this area being its $168 million investment in the Ivanpah solar power tower plant followed by $280 million investment towards creating the largest residential solar financing fund […]

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