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Google Invests in Clean Energy, GE Manufacturers Solar Panels

Google is investing in several clean energy projects all over the world. The first project is an ambitious plan to build offshore wind farms that will ferry energy to California’s most heavily populated areas. 10-20 miles of offshore land will have a cable placed on the sea floor that will hopefully send 6,000 megawatts of power to as many as 2 million homes. While offshore wind has a lot of potential, due to high winds on the ocean and the desirable remoteness of the farms, the plan is still in the development state. There are no running offshore wind farms in the world, and the plan is costly, but with Google as a major investor US offshore wind farms will hopefully become a success.

Google is also investing a staggering $168 million into a solar power plant to be located in the Mojave Desert. The plant, developed by BrightSource Energy Inc. will be operable by 2013 and is expected to generate 392 gross megawatts of solar energy. While Google does have equity stake in BrightSource, Energy Inc, the $168 million will fund only the Mojave Desert solar project. Upon completion, this single energy project is expected to double solar thermal electricity currently produced in the United States.

Google isn’t the only company making headlines in solar news. GE is currently working on developing thinner, more flexible and more efficient solar panels. These thin panels, made of cadmium telluride, may not be as efficient as bulkier crystalline silicone solar panels, they are more affordable and hold up more efficiently against harsh weather conditions. GE-manufactured cadmium telluride solar panels also have a wider range of applications than the more cumbersome silicon-based panels. In the past few years GE has secured its brand as a major manufacturer of wind turbines, and the company is working to extend their clean energy efforts to solar power with their new solar panels.

In alignment with President Barack Obama’s promise to make America a leading solar power contender SunPower Corp. could receive a conditional loan from the federal government backing a 250-megawatt solar power plant. SolarPower Corp. would likely begin construction on the California-based solar plant later this year, if the federal financing is available.