Google jumps to top of corporate renewable ladder, with 1.6 GW buy

Credit: Novo Nordisk

Credit: Novo Nordisk

Google's renewable buy continues a growing trend of corporate interest in sustainability, and the company indicated solar cost declines would make the resource key in shaping its resource mix.

In the U.S., Google will purchase solar energy from a 155 MW project in North Carolina, 75 MW in South Carolina and 490 MW in Texas. The company says these deals are "more than doubling the capacity of our global solar portfolio to date."

"Up to now, most of our renewable energy purchases in the U.S. have been wind-driven, but the declining cost of solar (down more than 80% in the past decade) has made harnessing the sun increasingly cost-effective," Google said in its announcement.

Google also announced its first "hybrid technology" purchase, along with other investments in the U.S., Chile and Europe.

In Chile, Google said it is adding 125 MW through a "hybrid technology deal that combines solar and wind" to provide carbon-free energy more hours of the day. Almost half of the new renewable energy capacity purchased will be located in Europe, including Finland (255 MW), Sweden (286 MW), Belgium (92 MW), and Denmark (160 MW).

Google also announced a pair of new grants to support organizations accessing clean energy. The company plans to provide a $500,000 grant to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance in the United States, and a similar grant to RE-Source in Europe.

"These grants will help fund the development of new purchasing models, provide training and resources for consumers, and enable more widespread access to clean power," the company said.

Corporate interest in clean energy is expected to grow. According to Wood MacKenzie analysis, corporate deals accounted for 22% of wind and solar contracts in 2018, with tech giants topping the list of buyers. The firm said Facebook, Google and Amazon accounted for more than a third of the U.S. renewables market last year.