Google invests in $188 million Utah solar project

Google is investing in Utah Red Hills Renewable Energy Park, which is touted as the largest solar power plant in Utah.

The $188 million project is being developed by Norwegian solar energy project developer Scatec Solar. The project will have a capacity to generate 210 million kilowatt-hours of solar power annually.

According to the deal, Google will pay a share of the cost of the project in return for tax incentives in addition to a share of the income.

The plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2015 and will produce sufficient electricity to power 18,500 average homes in Utah.

After its completion, the Red Hills project will be eligible for a 30 percent solar investment tax credit according to US policy.

The Utah Red Hills solar power station is a part of the target by Scatec Solar to install 750MW of PV generation capacity by the end of 2016.

The facility is being developed in Parowan, Utah which will feature around 325,000 solar PV modules, mounted on single-axis trackers supplied by Scatec Solar.

The power generated will be sold into the grid through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to local utility Rocky Mountain Power.

The project represents Scatec Solar’s first fully owned project in the U.S. and will be the largest developed and constructed project in North America, commented, Raymond Carlsen, CEO, Scatec Solar.

The Utah location is well suited to solar because of its sunny climate, which is situated at about 5,800 feet from sea level. That’s important because solar power systems don’t perform as well when it is very hot, explained, Luigi Resta, managing director, Scatec Solar, North America.

Utah lagged neighboring sunny states like Arizona and New Mexico in solar energy until recently, he added.

Google marks its eighteenth renewable energy investment with this Utah project.

In 2013, Google invested $80 million in six solar facilities in California and Arizona in addition to another $103 million investment in Silver Ridge Power’s 265.7-megawatt Mount Signal Solar project.

So far, Google has invested over $1.5 billion in solar and wind projects across three continents with a total capacity of nearly 2.5 gigawatts.

Back in September, Google announced a major solar investment in SunEdison solar plant.

Generally, Google uses solar energy to power its data centers and to reduce the carbon footprint.Google was ranked high along with Facebook and Apple in the latest ranking by Greenpeace.

Sabeena Wahid