Google's commitment to "green" means that the company sources carpet and sofas made without PVC, paints without volatile organic compounds, and cafeteria food from local growers. It's not surprising, then, that they would roll out the largest commercial solar deployment in the US—a 1.6MW installation that covers most of the buildings at Google's campus and extends even to shaded parking spaces. At the ETech conference in San Diego this week, Google's Anthony Ravitz explained how Google did it, and why.
The move to solar made sense for Google, and not just "hippie Gaia-loving" sense. Ravitz said that Google will earn its investment back in 7.5 years, after which it will continue to enjoy inexpensive power for decades. With the company sprawled across a large campus of many low buildings, roof space was easily available. Solar also has the unique property of pumping out more energy when power is the most expensive—peak afternoon hours. When air conditioners across California kick into action on sunny days, Google generates the most power. [...continue article]