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Google to invest in solar farms in California and Arizona

Nov 15, 2013 - Shan Li -

Till now, four regional grids namely northern, eastern, western and northeastern regions were connected synchronously. Photo: Mint
Google is investing in six solar farms in Arizona and California, including… (Google Inc. )

Google Inc. plans to invest $80 million in six utility-scale solar facilities in California and Arizona as the tech behemoth continues to put money toward alternative energy projects.

The Mountain View, Calif., company will partner with solar developer Recurrent Energy and private equity firm KKR & Co. on the projects, which are estimated to generate enough combined electricity to power more than 17,000 homes, Google said in a blog post.

"You'd think the thrill might wear off this whole renewable energy investing thing after a while," Google wrote on its official blog. "Nope -- we're still as into it as ever, which is why we're so pleased to announce our 14th investment."

In 2011, Google hooked up with KKR and Recurrent on four solar facilities south of Sacramento that have since started generating power. The tech giant said it has committed more than $1 billion in total on green energy projects around the globe.

The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal, said five of the new solar plants will be located in Southern California and the sixth will be in Arizona. Recurrent, based in San Francisco, will act as the operator and also already reached agreements with three electricity buyers who will purchase the power that is generated, the Journal said.

California is one of several states that have mandated renewable energy targets for its utility companies -- 33% of its electricity must come from green sources by 2020. Those mandates combined with the abundant sunshine makes the state a prime market for solar companies.