Google invests $5 million in German solar power plant

Google has just announced its very first clean energy project investment in Europe, and hopefully not its last. The Internet giant is pumping 3.5 million euros (roughly $5 million) in a solar photovoltaic power plant in a town near Berlin, Germany.

Google isn’t investing in the plant on its own – it has sided with German private equity company Capital Stage.

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

The recently completed facility is located on 47 hectares (116 acres) in Brandenburg an der Havel, near Germany’s capital.

The plant is designed to provide clean energy to more than 5,000 households in the area.

Google says the power plant has a peak capacity of 18.65MWp, which puts it among the largest in the country.

Update: Capital Stage’s press release on the matter brings more details. The firm has in fact sold a 49 percent stake of the plant to Google.

Google has backed renewable energy projects before, but only in the United States so far. All in all, the company has invested approximately $100 million in the clean energy sector, in cleantech companies like eSolar, AltaRock Energy, Potter Drilling and others.

In 2010, Google invested $38.8 million in two wind farms in North Dakota. The company announced the two locations will generate 169.5 megawatts of power, or enough to supply 55,000 homes. Also in 2010, Google signed an agreement with an Iowa wind farm to buy 114 megawatts of energy for 20 years.