Google invests $103m in search for new renewable energy projects

Silver Ridge Power LLC, formerly known as AES Solar, and Google Inc. announced Oct. 10 that Google became a partner and will invest about $103m in Silver Ridge Power’s 265.7-MW (DC) Mount Signal Solar project.

The project, also known as Imperial Valley Solar 1, is a utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) facility that is now under construction in Imperial County, Calif. Mount Signal Solar is expected to be fully operational in 2014 and will sell its output to San Diego Gas & Electric under a long-term power purchase agreement.

Google’s obligation to provide a significant portion of the committed funds is subject to customary conditions precedent, including the commencement of operations at Mount Signal Solar.

Silver Ridge Power’s global portfolio now totals about 522 MW (DC) in operation or construction in seven countries, making Silver Ridge Power one of the world’s largest owners and operators of utility-scale, solar PV power plants.

This is Google’s thirteenth renewable energy investment. In total, the company has committed over $1bn to projects that will enable the generation of more than 2 GW.

“Our investment in Mount Signal Solar is a reflection of Google’s ongoing commitment to the renewable energy industry and our strong belief that investing in renewable energy makes business sense,” said Kojo Ako-Asare, Google’s Head of Corporate Finance. “This is the first time Silver Ridge Power has partnered with a technology company; we appreciate their innovative approach and we hope to see more such partnerships in the future.”

“We are pleased to have a world-class partner in Google on our flagship Mount Signal Solar project. We are on schedule to complete the project in 2014 and when completed it will be one of the largest single-axis tracker PV plants in the world,” said Robert Hemphill, CEO of Silver Ridge Power. “Mount Signal Solar represents over half of Silver Ridge Power’s total installed capacity and will provide clean, renewable electricity to over 80,000 homes in California.”

Silver Ridge Power is a joint venture between AES Corp. (NYSE: AES) and Riverstone Holdings LLC that was formed to develop, own and operate utility-scale solar power plants. Riverstone is an energy and power-focused private equity firm founded in 2000 with approximately $26bn of equity capital raised across seven investment funds.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 8 accepted an application by Imperial Valley Solar 1 LLC certain approvals for its in-development solar project in California. This company is a wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary of AES Solar (now Silver Ridge Power). It told FERC that its facility will represent the first of four phases of a 600-MW photovoltaic installation.

  • Imperial Valley Solar 2 LLC will own the second phase (150 MW of capacity expected to begin commercial operation by Dec. 31, 2015);
  • Imperial Valley Solar 3 LLC will own the third phase (150 MW of capacity expected to begin commercial operation by March 31, 2016); and
  • Imperial Valley Solar 4 LLC will own the fourth phase (100 MW of capacity expected to begin commercial operation by June 30, 2016).
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.