Google is wrapping up 2011 in a green way! The company just announced this morning they have made a $94 million investment in four photovoltaic solar energy projects outside of Sacramento, California. While Google has invested over $880 million in solar energy in 2011 alone, this new project is unique in that it will produce energy FOR the grid, to power over 13,000 homes. Google is partnering with Recurrent Energy and KKR; this is the first solar project for KKR on US soil. Google is committed to developing new, cleaner forms of business for the world and is dedicated to investing in wind, photovoltaic, and concentrated solar power systems. This massive investment is just one example of the millions of dollars Google has put into solar energy projects across the US.
In other solar news, the University of Texas at Austin has made a major photovoltaic breakthrough. Xiaoyang Zhu, a chemistry professor at the university discovered that an organic semiconductor made of plastic can potentially double the electrons captured by one photon of sunlight. Traditional photovoltaic panels often collect electrons that are too high energy to be converted into electricity via silicon. However, by using plastic (specifically pentacene) Zhu can capture two electrons for every one electroncaptured in the silicon process. Xiaoyang Zhu is currently testing the process to be used in regular, residential rooftop solar panels.