Google has invested $12 million into South Africa’s Jasper Power Project in a move to help speed up the adoption of renewable energy beyond the U.S. and Europe.
Rick Needham, Director, Energy & Sustainability at Google announced, “We’ve just closed our first investment in Africa: $12 million USD (103 million Rand) investment in the Jasper Power Project, a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa.”
With the financing, Jasper Power Project will be the continents largest solar installations when completed and capable of generating enough electricity to power 30,000 South African homes.
The Jasper Power Project is an intitative of SolarReserve, Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group and has also received backing from the Rand Merchant Bank, the Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust.
Google believes in the viability of the Jasper Power project both financially and as a life changing project.
The firm said
,” When we consider investing in a renewable energy project
, we focus on two key factors. First, we only pursue investments that we believe make financial sense. South Africa’s strong resources and supportive policies for renewable energy make it an attractive place to invest—which is why it had the highest growth in clean energy investment in the world last year. Second, we look for projects that have transformative potential—that is, projects that will bolster the growth of the renewable energy industry and move the world closer to a clean energy future. The Jasper Power Project is one of those transformative opportunities”
The project is ideal to the country’s economy as back in 2008, South Africa experienced a severe energy shortage, with blackouts slowing down business and economic growth pushing the government to actively support new power sources to power the country.
Jasper, a REIPPPP project will compete with others for a contract with Eskom, the country’s energy utility and Google sees Jasper’s potential.
“Jasper will create approximately 300 construction and 50 permanent jobs in a region experiencing high rates of unemployment
, as well as providing rural development and education programs and setting aside a portion of total project revenues—amounting to approximately $26 million over the life of the project—for enterprise and socio-economic development.”
This is not Google’s first such project, the firm has committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy investments and still continues to search for new opportunities globally.