Merry Christmas From Google: Big Investment Into Solar Power Near Sacramento

Google, enticed in part by Sacramento Metropolitan Utility District (SMUD)'s new feed-in-tariff, just announced a big investment into solar power near California's capital. Here's more from the search engine's blog.

The $94 million infusion into Recurrent Energy's (Recurrent also has a big solar project planned near Fresno) four plants near Sacramento brings Google's renewable energy portfolio to nearly $1 billion. Here is more on its clean energy investments, but they include utility-scale solar, financing programs for residential rooftop solar, and wind power.

Google recently said it will stop internal solar research programs, but would continue to invest in individual projects.

Google's announcement follows one yesterday by a subsidiary of Warren Buffett's company, which announced a minority investment into a huge solar project in Arizona. That, in turn, followed his purchase of a large solar project just west of the San Joaquin Valley. More on those here.

It remains to be seen how solar power fares in 2012, especially if certain subsidies expire, but investors with deep pockets still continue to pursue it, especially in California where the state passed an ambitious 33 percent renewables mandate. The industry is emerging in fits and starts, but clearly some people think there is power in the sun.

Illustration by Kiril Havezov