American search engine giant Google is now becoming involved in renewable energy projects, including electrical power generated by solar energy. One such project in which Google is a known investor is the Israeli solar energy company, BrightSource Energy, whose specially-designed collection mirrors and energy generating tower are one of the most advanced and successful in the solar energy field.
We also reported last year, that Google was eying geothermal energy company Ormat (NYSE:ORA))
BrightSource, which has a contract with PG&E, is currently involved in a number of solar energy projects in Israel, California, and Nevada , and will eventually be supplying more than 4 Gigawatts of electricity to homes, commercial and business properties in both countries.
It recently received investor capital in the amount of $115 million, a part of which was invested by Google. Google’s president, Bill Wheil, spoke at a recent global energy summit held in San Francisco about his company’s interest in innovations which will provide large amounts of clean, renewable energy at much lower costs. Wheil told the audience about the unique mirrors used by BrightSource which are not only very efficient, but much lower in cost than those used by other companies.
“We’ve been looking at very unusual materials for the mirrors both for the reflective surface as well as the substrate that the mirror is mounted on,” Wheil told a Reuters reporter.
Although solar energy-generated electricity presently costs more than that generated by conventional power sources like oil and coal, companies like BrightSource hope to reduce these costs to as low as 5 cents per kilowatt hour and enable companies like Google itself to reduce its own energy costs by as much as 60%.
After opening its first solar energy plant in Rotem, in Israel’s Negev desert, BrightSource is now involved in large projects such as the one in Needles California, one of the hottest locations in America during the summer months, when temperatures often are as high as 120 degrees F (50 degrees C ). When completed, the project will provide enough electricity for more than 140,000 homes and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more the 450,000 tons per year.
Google has been in involved in green and clean energy initiatives for a number of years now, with the idea of reducing its own carbon footprint while making a positive contribution to a cleaner world environment.
Wheil and his company are very positive about the future of solar energy for generating environmentally friendly electricity: “In two of three years, pilot projects such as these will be able to produce clean electricity at prices leveling at 5 cents or even sub 5 cents per kilowatt hour,” he said.
So from this example it can be seen that Google is interested in more than just providing website search engines and internet browser sites.