Google invests $145 million in Kern County solar project

Google to put $145 million into Kern County solar project

Google Inc. is investing $145 million in a solar power plant on a former oil and gas field near Bakersfield.

The 82-megawatt project will feed enough power to the grid for 10,000 homes, Google said. It is expected to bring 650 jobs to Kern County.

“Our investment in the Regulus solar project will give new life to a long-valued piece of land,” Nick Coons,  principal for renewable energy at Google, wrote on the company’s blog Wednesday. “There's something a little poetic about creating a renewable resource on land that once creaked with oil wells.”

SunEdison Inc. is building the Lamont, Calif., solar farm project, known as Regulus, for Maryland-based TerraForm Power Inc., which owns and operates solar power plants throughout the world.

SunEdison owns a majority stake in TerraForm, which said its renewable energy portfolio totaled 808 megawatts when the company made its initial public stock offering in July.

SunEdison broke ground on the project in December. It will begin operation later this year, the company said, and will sell power to Southern California Edison through a 20-year purchase agreement.

Regulus is the 17th renewable energy project Google has invested in since 2010. Five of those investments have been in California, including $103 million for a solar farm in Imperial County and $94 million for four solar projects near Sacramento.

Google said its renewable energy projects are expected to generate more than 6 billion kilowatt-hours of energy annually, which the tech giant said is “far more electricity” than it consumes and is enough to power all public elementary schools in New York, Oregon and Wyoming for one year.

Prudential Capital Group, Prudential Financial Inc.’s asset management business, and Santander Bank provided financing for the project.

Twitter: @chadgarland

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