Solar power

Solar Cells

Google and Wal-Mart see the light

Solar power will likely play a key role in Governor Pawlenty’s Next Generation Energy Plan. But beyond rebates for those who use solar power, the extent of its role in helping Minnesotans get 25% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025 is unclear. Solar energy is definitely in the plans of two large U.S. corporations, however, as they look to cut energy costs and lessen their environmental impact.
Google Inc. is installing a massive solar power project at its headquarters in Mountain View, California. It’s currently the largest solar project undertaken by a U.S. company. Over 9,200 solar panels will cover the roofs and line the parking lots of the compound. Once the project is complete, the solar panels could produce about 1.6 megawatts of electricity—enough to power about 1,000 homes.

Google is setting an example, and other U.S. corporations are paying attention.

Wal-Mart recently requested bids on a solar project that would be 50 times larger than the Google project. If Wal-Mart follows through, it will install solar panels on stores in five states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, and New Jersey. Wal-Mart’s push for solar power is a result of the company’s pledge to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% over the next eight years.