Google invests in Utah’s largest solar plant 

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, January 8, 2015

Technology giant Google Inc. is investing $157 million in a solar plant that will be Utah’s largest, the Silicon Valley-based company said today.

The deal with Norway-based Scatec Solar will develop the Red Hills Renewable Energy Park in Parowan, Utah, about 190 miles northeast of Las Vegas. When finished, it will be Scatec Solar’s largest constructed project in North America in addition to being the state’s largest solar plant.

It represents the 18th renewable energy investment project for Google, which has signed agreements to fund renewable energy investments worldwide. The company has helped fund utility-scale solar and wind plants in California, Arizona, Iowa, North Dakota, Oregon and Texas, while making smaller investments in projects in Germany and South Africa (ClimateWire, Sept. 11, 2014).

“We’ve invested over $1.5 [billion] in bringing new sources of renewable energy to the grid and have no plans to stop,” a Google representative said in an email. “Supporting the Red Hills solar project helps bring more low carbon, renewable energy to Utah and surrounding areas.”

The Utah Red Hills Renewable Energy Park will generate about 210 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, power that will go to the grid via a power purchase agreement by PacifiCorp’s Rocky Mountain Power. Scheduled to be finished by year end, it will generate enough energy to power about 18,500 homes annually. It will prevent the emissions of about 145,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of not burning 156 million pounds of coal annually, Google and Scatec said.

Total investment for the plant was estimated at $188 million. The power plant will be jointly owned by Google and Scatec Solar. Scatec will manage and operate the plant when it goes into operation.