Commercial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  January 23, 2019

Google signs its first clean energy deal in Asia

Google has signed a long-term PPA to purchase the output of a 10-megawatt solar array, part of a larger solar farm, in Tainan City, Taiwan, to power a data center located about 60 miles away in Changhua County. This represents the company’s first clean energy agreement in Asia.

In a blog post, the company explained, “Since 2010, we’ve signed on to more than 30 solar and wind projects across the Americas and Europe, making us the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy. Today we’re adding a fourth continent to our clean energy portfolio: Asia.”

The post noted that the deal was a result of a collaboration between Google, industry stakeholders and the Taiwanese government—which recently amended Taiwan’s Electricity Act to allow non-utility companies to directly buy renewable energy and decrease their carbon footprints. Google is the first corporate power purchaser to act on this renewables-friendly change to the law. “As the Taiwanese government pursues further measures to remove market barriers and reduce renewable energy costs, we’re hopeful that more companies will purchase renewable energy, driving even larger projects across Taiwan.” 

For Google, the company noted, the solar purchase agreement provides a long-term and fixed electricity price to support our operations in Taiwan. "It will also boost the carbon-free profile of our local data center. In addition, it’s a step in the right direction for grid reliability and Taiwan’s broader energy supply mix, which the government wants to expand and make more renewable in the coming years."

The project will have a unique design and community impact: poles will be mounted into commercial fishing ponds to elevate solar panels several feet into the sky. This setup will maximize land-use efficiency (important in a densely populated region), respect local ecology (fish and solar panels can coexist peacefully), and generate local economic benefits (the fishing community will be compensated for hosting solar panels on its ponds). A total of 40,000 solar panels will be deployed across commercial fishing ponds in a way that maximizes land-use efficiency and benefits local aquaculture workers.

 

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