Google Searches for Cheaper Solar Power
Google’s reputation as a corporate goodguy (motto: Don’t be evil) took a big hit recently with charges of complicity in political censorship by the Chinese Government. So the cynical may think that their massive investment in solar photovoltaic technologies is a desperate attempt by the search engine giant to claw its way back to the moral high ground. But I’m not so sure this is a cynical ploy – the company’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin drive modest hybrid Toyota Priuses (Prii?) despite being worth gazillions, and earlier this year they announced $11m donation to further develop hybrid technologies.
According to Page, “Our goal is to produce one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic this can be done in years, not decades.” I think this is the first time I have heard someone set such an ambitious target, and, even if this proves impossible, they’ve certainly got the cash to have a damn good try to get close.
Tree hugging greens have long quoted Nobel prize winner George Porter’s statement “If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.” to reflect the difference in investment between the defence industry and sustainability. Well maybe philanthropists like Page & Brin can succeed where Governments have failed…