Google Invests In German Solar Power Plant

Google is investing millions in a solar plant in Germany that will provide power to 5,000 homes

Google has revealed that it is investing €3.5 million (£3m) in a solar photovoltaic power plant in Germany.

Google announced in a blog posting that the solar power plant, located on a 116 acres site in Brandenburg an der Havel (near Berlin), will provide clean energy to more than 5,000 households in the area surrounding Brandenburg.

The power plant has a peak capacity of 18.65MWp, which apparently puts it among the largest in Germany.

First European Investment

“Until the early 90’s, the site was used as a training ground by the Russian military. We’re glad it has found a new use!,” wrote Benjamin Kott, Google’s Clean Energy Advocacy Manager. “Germany has a strong framework for renewable energy and is home to many leading-edge technology companies in the sector. More than 70 percent of the solar modules installed in Brandenburg are provided by German manufacturers.”

Google said that it had agreed to jointly invest in this project with Capital Stage, a Germany private equity group that has “strong experience” in the German photovoltaic and renewable energy market.

“After investing in clean energy projects in the US, we’re excited about making our first investment outside of the US in Germany, a country that has long been a global leader in clean energy development,” wrote Kott.

The transaction still requires the formal approval of the German competition authorities and is subject to other customary closing conditions.

Renewable Energy Focus

Google has a great deal of first hand experience with renewable energy thanks to its power hungry data centres. Indeed, the company has previously said that it aims to produce its own renewable energy, but it also buys in clean energy.

Last July, for example, Google said it would purchase 114 megawatts of clean energy from the NextEra Energy Resources wind farm in Iowa. And earlier last year, it invested £25 million into turbine farms in one of the most wind efficient areas of the US.

And in October Google said that it had provided start-up funding for an ambitious transmission cable project designed to link wind farms along the north-east coast of the US. The Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) backbone is to pass down the US coast from New Jersey to Virginia, and is designed to link up to 6,000MW of offshore wind turbines, or enough energy to serve about 1.9 million households, according to Google.

Google therefore has a clear track record on investment in clean energy schemes, but nearly all have been based in the United States. This is the first time the search engine giant has decided to invest in a European operation.