SAN FRANCISCO -- Google is investing $168 million in an alternative power project that aims to produce enough solar energy to light 140,000 homes.
The commitment announced Monday is part of the financing that BrightSource Energy needs to build a solar power plant in California's Mojave Desert. BrightSource also has lined up $1.6 billion in loans guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Energy and a $300 million investment from NRG Energy Inc.
Google Inc. has been dipping into its bank account to back various projects that promise to generate energy from other sources besides oil and coal. The company has emerged as a major consumer of electricity as it opens huge data centers to house the computers that run its Internet search engine, e-mail and other online services.