Recurrent Energy announced that Google and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR) have invested in an 88MW portfolio of solar projects. The projects provide clean solar electricity to Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) under 20-year power purchase agreements. Three of the projects will be operational by the early in 2012 with the remaining project to come online later in the year.
The investment includes a significant equity investment from Google in addition to equity from SunTap, a new venture formed by KKR to invest in solar projects in the U.S. Recurrent Energy will retain a minority position in the projects and continue to operate them.
Working with Google and KKR on these projects has been a gratifying experience. Both companies are committed to investment in renewables and they worked hard to get the deal done before the end of the year.
Their investment is a clear demonstration of solar’s ability to attract private capital from well-established investors. That's a good indication of where the solar industry is headed as an increasingly mainstream energy source.
For me personally, there's a nice symmetry to Google's involvement in this financing. Back in 2005, I led the team that developed Google's 1.8MW solar power system for their headquarters. It's great to see that the passion that led them to be an early adopter of solar back then has grown into a large and very visible part of their corporate investing activity today.