Google's evolving Earth Day logo throughout recent years. The logo signifies the company's interest in green energy.

Google is ending 2011 with a green bang.

The technology giant made an investment that brought its total renewable energy investments to more than $915 million. Google announced this morning that it is injecting $94 million into four solar photovoltaic projects established near Sacramento, Calif. The portfolio projects are being built by solar development company Recurrent Energy.

“We’ve already committed to providing funding this year to help more than 10,000 homeowners install solar PV panels on their rooftops,” announced Recurrent Energy in a statement. The development company also released energy details through its press-release concerning expected electricity generation:

The four solar PV facilities included in the transaction will provide 88 MW of power to SMUD   and were the first to be awarded as part of the utility’s feed-­in tariff program (FIT) introduced in January 2010…The projects are expected to generate nearly 160,000,000 kWh in their first year of operation, which is roughly equivalent to offsetting the electricity consumption of more than 13,000 average U.S. homes.

The facilities serve the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.  Construction on three of the area projects will finish in early 2012, with the fourth completing later in the year. Global investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., through a new venture called SunTap Energy, is co-investing in the projects alongside Google.

“The investment is a clear demonstration of solar’s ability to attract private capital from well-­ established investors like Google and KKR,” said Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy, in the blog post.  “This transaction provides an example of the direction solar is headed as a viable, mainstream part of our energy economy.” expand full story