Google ties up with KKR for California solar projects

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. ― Google Inc. and KKR & C. said they will acquire a portfolio of four solar photovoltaic projects in California from Recurrent Energy, a unit of Japan’s Sharp Corp.

The deal will be financed with a combination of debt and equity from Google and SunTap Energy RE LLC, a new venture formed by KKR on Tuesday to invest in solar projects in the United States.

KKR committed a $95 million line of equity to establish SunTap, a part of which will be drawn for this investment.

The deal marks Google’s first investment in utility-scale U.S. solar projects and brings the technology giant’s total investment in renewable energy to more than $915 million, across the world.

Three of the four projects will be complete early next year and the fourth will come online later in the year, the companies said in a joint statement.

The facilities will provide 88 MW power to Sacramento Municipal Utility District, and are expected to generate about 160,000,000 kWh in their first year of operation — enough to power more than 13,000 average U.S. homes.

Google said in late 2007 it would invest hundreds of millions of dollars in solar, wind and geothermal technologies to help make renewables cost competitive with coal.