Google’s Solar Panels Power Up

    June 19, 2007

Some time ago, Google announced that it would install a number of solar panels on the much-discussed Googleplex.  Those panels are now in place, on, and, according to the company, generating “an electricity output capable of powering approximately 1,000 average California homes.”

It’ll still be quite a while before that free electricity offsets the initial cost of the system, but at least the panels have earned Google a little positive PR.  The Earth Times Online, for example, states, “The Google system is also now the largest solar installation on any corporate campus in the United States.”

To help people grasp the size of this development, Google has even created a new performance monitoring site; I’m told that, over the past day, those solar panels have generated enough electricity to run almost 6,000 loads of laundry.  There are interesting charts, as well – as it is solar power Google’s using, you’ll note that output drops to zero overnight.

That’s not a problem, though.  “The system will offset peak electricity consumption at the solar powered offices and the newly constructed solar carports have charging stations for the plug-in hybrids,” writes Dan Reicher,’s Director of Climate and Energy Initiatives, on the Official Google Blog.

Google’s got deep pockets; its attitude towards solar power could change the way a lot of important people think.  And even if the search engine company didn’t just affect the whole oil industry, well . . . the power of positive PR could wipe out some bad feelings.