Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Google Goes Solar

Google said Monday that it would build a large solar electricity system to provide about 30 percent of the electricity used each day at its one-million-square-foot office complex in Mountain View, Calif.

The system, which would use 9,200 solar cells — capable of powering 1,000 average California homes — would be one of the largest corporate solar installations, alternative energy experts said.

David Radcliffe said it would pay for itself in 5 to 10 years. Mr. Parker estimated that such a project could cost Google $10 million.
Nice move by Google. Putting solar panels on their roofs will cause other high tech companies to think about doing the same.

But as the search guys become big power users, I would rather see that the power being used in their server farms was coming from renewable power, maybe with Green Tags than them just putting solar cells on the top of their own buildings.

Does this make economic sense for Google? In a round about way I think it does. Google's continued success depends on recruiting the best and brightest minds each year. These type of people are motivated as much or more by trying to change the world as they are by money. They want to work for a company that they can feel good about, a company that is making the world a better place. And these solar panels are a great way to make that statement.

This move might not make sense from an energy cost standpoint, but it does makes sense as a recruiting cost. It also shows how the idealism of the college graduates and other potential recruits actually does have an impact on how large corporations run.

via New York Times


BLT said...

If they are using solar power isn't that "renewable"? If solar isn't "renewable" than what is? I tried going to the "Green tags" link but that was not working.

Fat Knowledge said...


I fixed the Green tags link. Thanks for pointing that out.

You are right, solar is definitely renewable. But, the solar power is only going to power their headquarters in Mountain View. It is not being used to power their server farms which are located around the world. I believe that their server farms use much more electricity than their headquarters, which is why I would prefer that they focused on that (the amount of electricity the farms used is not published, so I don't know for sure how much they use). I think what they are doing is a good thing, I just want them to take it to the next level and have all power that they use come from renewable energy.

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