Spoiler: Google Might Be Your Universal Utility
Google Energy could be the future of our renewable energy needs and Google Fiber could be the future of our internet/TV services. We all know that Google can accomplish anything, so why not give utilities a run for their money? While the battles between electric utilities and solar companies continue on, perhaps it’s not such a bad idea. In fact, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission already gave Google Energy the go ahead to sell energy in 2010.
Powering the World with Google Energy
Over the last few years, Google has made numerous purchases that point toward providing a sustainable energy future. With the recent announcement of renewable energy purchases in Chile, Sweden, and US — purchases adding another 842 MW to their energy portfolio — Google now exceeds 2 gigawatts of renewable energy. This marked the largest purchase of sustainable energy by a non-utility. They plan to triple their clean energy purchases by 2025.
Aside from Google’s consistent large purchases of wind and solar plants, they also bought Nest for $3.2 billion back in January 2014. If you’re not familiar with Nest, it is a self-learning thermostat system for your home. It may not seem relevant, but it is definitely a factor in Google’s quest to have their hands in all things electronic. With Google at the forefront, smart home technology will take bigger leaps and bounds than it already has.
Another obvious purchase for Google was DeepMind, back in 2014. DeepMind is an artificial intelligence algorithm that is self-learning and has an endless amount of possibilities. Currently, DeepMind is being used in Google’s data centers to monitor and control the cooling systems. In their initial tests, Google saw a 40% reduction in energy usage from their cooling systems with the help of DeepMind.
A Digital Future with Google Fiber
On top of Google’s energy projects, they are currently looking to bring Google Fiber into every major city. Naturally, this is a project that will take many years to complete — having to run fiber-optics throughout the country. While they’re running lines for their TV and Internet services, why not run the lines for a future Google-run electric company also? It would be killing two utilities with one stone.
Utility Tunnel Vision
Google is leading the way toward a better future, while utilities are stuck in their old ways. Utility companies have monopolized to the point where they have backed themselves, and their infrastructure, into a corner. Utilities are in constant battle with the solar industry, doing everything they can to deter the public from making the decision to go solar. Many of the California utilities have waged plans to push for lower rates provided under the Net Metering policy. Essentially, utilities do not want to pay you retail rates for the solar energy you over produce with your system.
Utilities in California are also increasing their rates at record pace due to lost revenues created by the solar industry. Opposed to taking a part in the renewable energy movement, utilities are deciding to stand by their old methods. How many homeowners and business owners will it take for utilities to finally change their business model? Because, unfortunately, that is all it is to them — a business, not a betterment for everyone’s future. This is why the utility death spiral will continue — something has to give.
Google’s Project Sunroof
In a stand against utilities, and betterment of our future, Google began Project Sunroof. Project Sunroof is a great tool that allows you to enter your address, personalize your solar plan, compare financing options, then find a solar installer in your area. Renewable energy sources should power 100% of the world in Google’s eyes, and for that reason, their sustainable energy journey began.
Take Control of Your Energy
Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, taking control of your energy is rewarding. Aside from the immediate financial benefits you see from solar, you also do your part in reducing your carbon footprint. You don’t just benefit yourself by installing solar, you provide benefit for everyone.
Benefits of Installing Solar Panels
- Save lots of money. Return on your investment is typically in the tens of thousands.
- Increase the value of your home.
- You can take advantage of the Solar Investment Tax Credit.
- The typical life span of a solar panel system in over 30 years.
- You will be doing your part in helping save the environment.
- From the moment the switch is flipped on your solar system, you see a drastic savings on your electric bill.
- You can enjoy the comfort of your A/C without worrying about a huge bill.
These benefits are not exclusive to residential solar either. In fact, commercial solar has all of the same benefits, but has an even larger impact on our environment. Due to the environmental impact of a business going solar, the investment tax credit does not currently have a set end date.