Google Puts $94M In Solar Projects; Clean Energy Investments Nearing $1B In Total

Google is ending 2011 with an investment that brings its total of renewable energy investments to an impressive $915 million. The online search and advertising juggernaut this morning announced that it is pumping $94 million in a portfolio of four solar photovoltaic projects being built near Sacramento, California by a solar development company called Recurrent Energy.

From the blog post announcing the equity investment (PDF):

We’ve already committed to providing funding this year to help more than 10,000 homeowners install solar PV panels on their rooftops. But this investment represents our first investment in the U.S. in larger scale solar PV power plants that generate energy for the grid—instead of on individual rooftops. These projects have a total capacity of 88 MW, equivalent to the electricity consumed by more than 13,000 homes.

The facilities will serve serving the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).

Construction on three of the Sacramento area projects will be completed in early 2012, with the fourth coming online later in the year, Recurrent Energy says.

The solar development company, as well as global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (through a new venture dubbed SunTap Energy), are co-investing in the projects alongside Google.