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394 comments

Long Term Benefit? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464027)

Not everything is about money! Wahh! That said, how many years will it take these solar cells to pay for themselves versus buying power from the utility company? I heard that the Sun is a pretty powerful nuclear furnace.

Google too powerful? (5, Funny)

x2A (858210) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464059)

Yeah but wait til Google becomes too powerful, the only option we'll have to shut the computers down will be to black out the sky :-/

I think I heard a story about it once...

Re:Google too powerful? (1)

skrew (111096) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464183)

Haha, nice Terminator2 reference. Its true though, while I'm glad that Google is being progressive and responsible with their energy needs, the fact is they are becoming more and more invasive of users privacy, such as keeping cookis untill 2038, and storing data on searches by IP and keeping it, the horrendous desktop search tool, etc. It doesnt' make much imagination to see the nefarious potential for the convergence between cataloging the contents of an individuals desktop computer, keeping records of all his google searches, his email, and yes, even tracking by satellite (how long untill google earth goes live). But so long as they use solar power, everything will be fine... Not.

Re:Google too powerful? (4, Insightful)

the_weasel (323320) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464225)

Pretty sure the grandparent was making a Matrix reference there......though I admit the 'future' scenes in Terminator 2 didn't seem to show the kind of environment where sunscreen played a big role in anyones life.

Re:Google too powerful? (1)

skrew (111096) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464289)

Touche, the sky being darkened is from the Matrix. T2 had the same concept of a smart computer system taking over, but instead caused a nuclear holocaust.

Matrix. Not Terminator (1)

Sneetch (953357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464235)

I'm pretty sure that was a Matrix reference.

Morpheus says: "We don't know who struck first - us, or them. But we know it was us that scorched the sky. At the time they were dependent on solar power and it was believed that they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun.

Re:Google too powerful? (1, Informative)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464271)

That was most definitely a Matrix reference (although I've never seen Terminator).

Re:Google too powerful? (4, Funny)

shut_up_man (450725) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464303)

Obj Simpsons:

Technician 1: I got it! We can just shut off the power!
Technician 2: No such luck. It's solar powered.
Technician 1: Solar power! When will people learn?

Re:Google too powerful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464733)

To late to worry about that. There's a terminator is already appointed to the governor's position...

Re:Long Term Benefit? (4, Insightful)

Karloskar (980435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464253)

pretty powerful nuclear furnace.

I think the boys from They Might Be Giants summed it up best.

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
A gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium
At a temperature of millions of degrees

Yo ho, it's hot, the sun is not
A place where we could live
But here on Earth there'd be no life
Without the light it gives

We need its light
We need its heat
We need its energy
Without the sun, without a doubt
There'd be no you and me

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
A gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium
At a temperature of millions of degrees

The sun is hot

It is so hot that everything on it is a
gas: iron, copper, aluminum, and many others.

The sun is large

If the sun were hollow, a million
Earths could fit inside. And yet, the
sun is only a middle-sized star.

The sun is far away

About 93 million miles away, and that's why it
looks so small.

And even when it's out of sight
The sun shines night and day

The sun gives heat
The sun gives light
The sunlight that we see
The sunlight comes from our own sun's
Atomic energy

Scientists have found that the sun is a huge
atom-smashing machine. The heat and light of
the sun come from the nuclear reactions of
hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and helium.

The sun is a mass of incandescent gas
A gigantic nuclear furnace
Where hydrogen is built into helium
At a temperature of millions of degrees

Re:Long Term Benefit? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464295)

According to the EI Solutions website, it will only take 7.5 years to pay off the cost of the system.

Re:Long Term Benefit? (3, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464379)

Does that include hiring someone to scrape off the bird shit from the cells?

Re:Long Term Benefit? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464419)

The windfarms will take care of the birds. Crisis averted!

Re:Long Term Benefit? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464433)

Then does the 7.5 years include the cost of setting up the Windfarm?

Re:Long Term Benefit? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464493)

Yes! I mean, no. I completely made up the bit about the windfarm. It's bird shit, who cares? I'd be much more concerned about stray frisbees.

Re:Long Term Benefit? (3, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464659)

It's bird shit, who cares?

Wouldn't enough of it end up reducing the effectiveness of the panels?

Big deal (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464029)

The wastful fuel they burn by flying that 747 of theirs around just for fun has a larger negative effect that the benefits this will bring.

Re:Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464559)

The wastful fuel they burn by flying that 747 of theirs around just for fun has a larger negative effect that the benefits this will bring.

But only half the loss in PR value. This way they can buy another 747 and come out neutral. Remember, Google's motto is "Don't be evil" as in "Don't be net evil."

Re:Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464575)

Actually, it's a 767. Not quite as ridiculously wasteful. Not that a personal 767 is all that environmentally friendly in the first place...

Doing good. (1)

gQuigs (913879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464033)

Not just "not evil"

I don't want to spend THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS / year (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464407)

Welcome to oblivion. We here, the Gay Negro Foundation (GNF), offer services greater than the GNAA. I do not need to elaborate on how these principals (sic) works. If you are interested in further informations, go here: this cool linK [goatse.cx] .

Click that and be enlightned.

--Dunbal

Does this mean... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464037)

I can only google stuff when the sun is shining in Mountain View?

Re:Does this mean... (5, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464385)

I'm actually worried about a hostile takeover from sun. With Google being so reliant upon sun for their energy, they won't have any defence.

Good, but not a huge deal (5, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464039)

"A Google executive said the company will rely on solar power to supply nearly a third of the electricity consumed by office workers at its roughly one-million-square-foot headquarters. This does not include power consumed by data centers that power many of Google's Web services worldwide, he said."

That's great, I am really proud of them for using an alternative energy source (especially in such a sunny area) but most of their energy usage is those data centers and servers, not their employees. They purposefully did not give a % of total energy saved because it probably would have been on the order of 0.1-5%, which would have revealed the ridiculous amount of energy they actually use.

Re:Good, but not a huge deal (3, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464173)

Still, 1.6 Megawatts is impressive... for solar power.

-matthew

Re:Good, but not a huge deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464191)

That's great, I am really proud of them for using an alternative energy source (especially in such a sunny area) but most of their energy usage is those data centers and servers, not their employees. They purposefully did not give a % of total energy saved because it probably would have been on the order of 0.1-5%, which would have revealed the ridiculous amount of energy they actually use.

More true than you may know... I have friends at Google who joke that they may have to start locating datacenters next to major hydroelectric dams since their power usage is so high. I think they should just go nuclear. I mean, jeez, their annual budget must be almost as much as North Korea's...

Re:Good, but not a huge deal (1)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464453)

It's not just a joke. They essentially chose the location for their new facility in Dalles, Oregon because of it's cheap electricity. It's out in the middle of nowhere and fairly close to Bonneville Dam.

NY Times story on it. [nytimes.com]

Re:Good, but not a huge deal (2, Insightful)

porkThreeWays (895269) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464397)

Yes, but 1.6 megawatts is no small feat.

Also, it's like people who drive hybrid cars. True, the sum of all hybrid cars have little effect on the total problems of pollution and foreign oil. However, sometimes as a human you say "I don't want to be a part of the problem. I may not be able to change others' minds, but at least I'm not contributing to the worlds problems".

And it's google so I'm sure they'll put a bunch of engineers on the problem and come up with a solution no one's ever thought of. Like a solar panel that produces energy, makes delicious tofu, and gives handjobs and watermelon.

Re:Good, but not a huge deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464653)

1.6 MW only sounds impressive. It actually isn't. If you see a switchboard that is designed to handle a MW or see the size of a generator that is designed to produce a MW you won't be as impressed. They are small because a MW isn't a huge amount of power. 1.6 MW is only 2145 HP. This is about 5 or 6 Mac trucks operating near full power (like driving up a mountain pass).

There is a reason that people like to make comparisons like 1.6 MW is the equivalent of 1000 homes, because homes don't use much power. Find a silicon refinery or a mine and see how much power they use. 30-50 MW will be a low value. Find a large water pump (like the ones they use in New Orleans). It will probably be in the MW range.

In 2005 the US produced 4 trillion KWh [doe.gov] of electricity which comes to a value of 1.5 KW of electrical power being used per capita. The average household size in the US is 2.61 [census.gov] . This means the US energy production is about 4 KW per household. If you assume that the average household actually uses 1 KW, then utilities and other uses account for another 3 KW. These values only take into account electricity usage.

Now if we compensate Google's power usage by the average amount of power produced per household (instead of what is used per household--because this is what most people think of when they hear this comparison), we get a measly 400 households (as in that Google could handle the entire electrical production of a city of 1050 people). Hardly impressive.

Just one? (1)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464043)

Just one Solar panel? What if it breaks? Will they need to replace the whole thing?

Re:Just one? (3, Funny)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464083)

They'll all show up at your door one day and go, "Wern't you the guy who dropped incredible internet science at slashdot? Our one single panel broke, and we're out a vast amount of money. Apparently, you're the man who will lead us into the next generation of solar powered offices."

Re:Just one? (5, Funny)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464089)

What if it breaks?

Two words: Duct Tape.

Re:Just one? (4, Funny)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464375)

Two words: Duct Tape.

Would that be to fix it or to shut up the person who revealed the problem?

Re:Just one? (1)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464401)

Would that be to fix it or to shut up the person who revealed the problem?


After thinking about it, it can conveniently be used for both.

Re:Just one? (4, Funny)

sniepre (517796) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464479)

Remember: There are only two tools in life. WD-40, for when something doesn't move, and should, and Duct Tape, for when something is moving and it shouldn't.

Re:Just one? (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464551)

Remember: There are only two tools in life. WD-40, for when something doesn't move, and should, and Duct Tape, for when something is moving and it shouldn't.

So does the universe explode if you spray duct tape with WD-40?

Re:Just one? (5, Funny)

gbobeck (926553) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464615)

Lets conduct an experiment and investigate what will happen if duct tape is sprayed with WD-40.

But, before we use any power tools, let's take a moment to talk about shop safety. Be sure to read, understand, and follow all the safety rules that come with your power tools. Knowing how to use your power tools properly will greatly reduce the risk of personal injury. And remember this: there is no more important safety rule than to wear these -- safety glasses and a funny hat.

I have with me a brand new roll of duct tape, and a fresh can of WD-40. Next to me is my trusty lab assistant, Timmy, who will be assiting in this experiment.

I am now going to rip a piece of duct tape approximately six inches long off of the roll and have Timmy hold it.

(I rip tape and hand it to Timmy)

Ok, Timmy, hold the tape tight, I am going to commence spraying the tape.

(I spray the tape)

Ok, Timmy... continue to hold it as we observe what happens.

(wait 5 seconds)

Timmy has told me it is starting to shake and do funny things...

OMG! A black hole has opened where the tape was. Timmy, hold on to it... this is the crucial moment...

Uh, oh! I think we are going to need another Timmy! It looks like Timmy was consumed by the black hole.

Luckily, I was prepaired for this. I will now throw into the black hole a few New Kids on the Block tapes and a copy of the movie Hobgobblins. This should cause the blackhole to enter "terminal suckage phase" and end its existance.

(I throw in the NKotB tapes and the copy of Hobgobblins. The black hole immediately ceases to be)

Well, it looks like yet another experiment has occured.

Tune in next week when I will show everyone how to build a perpetual energy generator using a cat and a slice of buttered toast.

Re:Just one? (1)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464147)

The article referred to it as a rooftop solar power generation system. I dont see anything in TFA to indicate that there would be only one panel. I suspect that the use of the word "Panel" rather than "Panels" was a mistake in the submission to slashdot.

Commendable (1)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464065)

It's nice to see Google doing something about ensuring some part of the power they use is from renewable sources. Now if only they could do this with their data centers.

Re:Commendable (5, Insightful)

JymmyZ (655273) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464119)

I don't think there's enough space in all of California that could be covered in the solar panels needed to power their data centers. Maybe if they bought New Mexico and turned it into one big panel array though.

Re:Commendable (4, Funny)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464151)

Maybe if they bought New Mexico and turned it into one big panel array though.

So, they'd be replacing New Mexico with something useful? And the catch is?

Re:Commendable (1)

Nicaboker (978150) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464491)

You don't have to make a Data Center just rely on one form of energy. Normally powered plus Solar would be a good way to go, also would let you use less of your back up generators if something happened.

Re:Commendable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464699)

New Mexico? What's wrong with the old one? Installation would be ridiculously cheap, too. And no Arizona taxes to deal with, for running massive power lines through their desert wasteland of a state.

Re:Commendable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464197)

What, like the huge frigging hydroelectric dam their Oregon datacenter is built next to?

Yeah, wish they'd thought of that.

Re:Commendable (3, Informative)

hazem (472289) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464737)

Well, there's the datacenter they are building in The Dalles, OR. It's next to a defunct aluminum plant and will be powered by the nearby hydroelectric dam. It's awefully hard on the salmon but it's mostly renewable and fairly clean. The many cooling towers are already easily visible from the freeway.

My guess is the picked the location for the nearby/cheap power, low labor costs, cheap land, and relatively low corporate taxes in Oregon. Plus there's great windsurfing just 20 miles down the river.. and it's a pretty place.

How big is it? (3, Interesting)

jorghis (1000092) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464099)

The article didnt say anything about its physical size. I wonder how much space they would have to consume to supply that much power.

The google campus doesnt have that many buildings, I have this weird image in my mind of all their buildings completely covered by solar panels.

Re:How big is it? (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464265)

The article didnt say anything about its physical size.

      3nL4rG3 Y0uR S014R p4N3Ls!!!

Re:How big is it? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464399)

The article didnt say anything about its physical size.

Did you specify its virtual size to differentiate it from the solar panels' virtual size?

Yawn! (2, Informative)

J. T. MacLeod (111094) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464109)

Call me when they hit 1.21 gigawatts!

OK, to be serious, this is a wonderful leap. Granted, it took a company as flush with cash and as well organized as Google to make the switch, but even if they're much better suited to do so, they can at least be an example to strive for.

Re:Yawn! (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464203)

OK, to be serious, this is a wonderful leap. Granted, it took a company as flush with cash and as well organized as Google to make the switch, but even if they're much better suited to do so, they can at least be an example to strive for.


You do realize that they are probably losing money on this in exchange for the publicity, don't you?

-matthew

Re:Yawn! (1, Insightful)

Don_dumb (927108) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464593)

You do realize how short sighted that economic view is, dont you?

How expensive does oil/coal etc have to get before this saves money? In the short term this may cost money, but it does after all provide a renewable and free resource.
It is just like double glazed windows, for the first few years the total cost is greater, but you are always saving money and after some years the saving has outweighed the cost of replacing the windows. This break even comes much sooner when you factor in the always increasing cost of finite energy.

Re:Yawn! (1)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464635)

This would be more true if solar panels lasted longer, but sadly they slowly degenerate over time. I believe replacement is suggested after 25 years, at which point they have - assuming present energy prices - rarely paid for themselves. They might pay for themselves if electrical power gets more expensive.

Re:Yawn! (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464697)

You do realize how short sighted that economic view is, dont you?


What view? I was only making sure you were aware that this move by Google probably wasn't a great investment beyond the publicity they'd get for it. It makes me wonder if perhaps they have gone a little too far. I mean, the public has a short attention span. Google only going to be be able to play this (expensive) card so many times.

How expensive does oil/coal etc have to get before this saves money?


Google is saving money on power by building their newest data center right next to a hydroelectric plant here in Oregon. The solar power thing is pure publicity.

In the short term this may cost money, but it does after all provide a renewable and free resource.


There is nothing free (money or resources) about building and replacing solar panels.

It is just like double glazed windows, for the first few years the total cost is greater, but you are always saving money and after some years the saving has outweighed the cost of replacing the windows. This break even comes much sooner when you factor in the always increasing cost of finite energy.


It is "just like" double glazed windows except that it doesn't really pay off... even in the long run.

-matthew

Eating their own dog food? (1)

tktk (540564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464111)

I wonder if Google's using products from Nanosolar? From what I can recall, Google and Nanosolar share at least one Board of Director/Investor.

And yes, I'm too lazy to google for the facts, it's 10pm for me and I'm about to have dinner.

Re:Eating their own dog food? (1)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464309)

According to the blog entry [blogspot.com] , they're partnering with EI Solutions [eispv.com] . It doesn't really say if they create the actual products, or if they're just responsible for the implementation.

Crazy (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464113)

I had JUST read this on Google's blog, and when I clicked back to Slashdot, boom: deja vu on the top of the front page (and not from a dupe! :P). Google blog article [blogspot.com] .

Re:Crazy (2, Funny)

PygmySurfer (442860) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464283)

I had JUST read this on Google's blog, and when I clicked back to Slashdot, boom: deja vu on the top of the front page (and not from a dupe! :P).

This is obviously a sign that you should submit it, and it'll make the front page tomorrow! :)

make a little, share a little... (1)

TwoEdge77 (92704) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464131)

Why not set up an array and share it out to the community? Look at me, I'm on the way to self sufficiency, the rest of you fend for yourselves...

Re:make a little, share a little... (1)

Dersaidin (954402) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464259)

While it might be leaving them to fend for themselves, it is also encouraging them to follow.

Re:make a little, share a little... (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464513)

I bet they'd do it in a heartbeat if they could hook your house up to google ads along with it.

Microsoft's response (2, Funny)

wardk (3037) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464137)

you know they'll have to have one....

Ballmer unleashed....yes, a campus run on fear

Re:Microsoft's response (2, Interesting)

generic-man (33649) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464315)

Microsoft already has solar power on its campus. [sunpowercorp.com]

Something seems odd about installing solar panels in a city famous for grey overcast skies, but the panels work nonetheless. :)

Re:Microsoft's response (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464565)

Try reading your own link. It's their Silicon Valley campus, not Seattle.

Hours (5, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464179)

Well, I guess that's one way to keep people from working late...

Re:Hours (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464249)

Well, I guess that's one way to keep people from working late...

      Nawww, at night they just turn the lights on to power the solar ...oh, wait!

victory is ours! (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464185)

Reuters is reporting that Google is equipping its headquarters with a solar panel 'capable of generating 1.6 megawatts of electricity

This is clearly the result of giving a cabal of nerds 130 billion dollars. Also, it's merely an order of magnitude short of the 1.21 gigawatts necessary for time travel.

Re:victory is ours! (1)

Brickwall (985910) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464619)

Reuters is reporting that Google is equipping its headquarters with a solar panel 'capable of generating 1.6 megawatts of electricity

This is clearly the result of giving a cabal of nerds 130 billion dollars. Also, it's merely an order of magnitude short of the 1.21 gigawatts necessary for time travel.

Nice arithmetic. Try three orders of magnitude. Please surrender your nerd credentials as you exit.

Re:victory is ours! (1)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464657)

Nice arithmetic. Try three orders of magnitude. Please surrender your nerd credentials as you exit.

I'll see to that. We'll see how silly you look when I use my delorean to go back in time and prevent myself from making that error...

Re:victory is ours! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464717)

It's an order of magnitude base one-thousand!

Install panels for data centers? (3, Interesting)

Salvance (1014001) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464195)

Think there's any chance Google would start installing solar panels on their data centers? This would be a HUGE gesture of enviro-friendly computing, even if it did cost them a bundle. It would certainly get other data centers and large power consumers (like yahoo and microsoft) to consider following suit. Based on estimates posted at Wikipedia, they consume 20MW of power for their 450,000+ servers (which actually seems really low - only 50W per server?).

Assuming it's more like 80MW of power they consume (equivalent to ~60K homes), I wonder if there'd even be enough high quality solar panels to offset a majority of this power consumption? I guess it makes more sense for them to start building wind farms near their out-of-the-way GooglePlexes. Some 5MW wind turbines are being tested today - hmmm ... let's see, 16 wind turbines vs. 150,000 solar panels ...

BTW: here's a link to a more detailed article on the subject: SF Gate - Google sets sight on solar [sfgate.com]

Re:Install panels for data centers? (3, Funny)

slack-fu (940017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464495)

what they should do, is use the heat the data centers produce to produce steam, to run a generator, to make electricity, to run the datacenter, to generate heat...

Re:Install panels for data centers? (1)

Peden (753161) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464573)

Thats also assuming that said wind turbines produces electricity at that rate, and that no loss occurs. Wind and solar power is great and all, but if its not economically viable, then its just not ready for the big market yet.

Re:Install panels for data centers? (1, Interesting)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464687)

It would certainly get other data centers and large power consumers (like yahoo and microsoft) to consider following suit

Solar power is extremely expensive, and power is generally the single largest cost in operating a data center (bandwidth, server leases, and even the cost of A-grade real estate in an urban core like New York City are small compared to power costs). Real world data center managers are interested in (1) more reliable power (no sags, no blackouts, no brownouts) (2) less expensive power. Empty gestures like solar panels don't really enter into the equation. That is fortunate, because it isn't even clear that solar panels are carbon neutral, much less carbon negative, over their operating lifetime.

Payback? (5, Insightful)

Nick9000 (960604) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464281)

I wonder what the energy payback period is expected to be? I've heard up to thirty years for solar panels, which has always put me off because I would guess in 5-10 years there will be improvements in the amount of energy a panel can produce.

All buildings should be solar (2, Interesting)

AdmNaismith (937672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464317)

All new building from this momnet forward should incorporate some solar and/or wind element for generating at least some electricity. There is absolutely no reason this cannot be written into the building codes of every citycounty/state in the US

Re:All buildings should be solar (1)

slack-fu (940017) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464509)

Oh it certainly will be written in to the building codes, as soon as someone in the chain of command to do this benefits financially from the code. IE: Owning a business that makes windmills/solar panels.

Cost Savings.... (2, Informative)

PhaxMohdem (809276) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464321)

I wonder how much this thing will cost to deploy, and if it will be able to pay for itself in energy savings after a while. I'm no expert on solar power at all, but some basic math seems to show that a 1.6 Megawatt system with 8 hours of sunlight per day would save somewhere around $900 USD per day in energy costs (Assuming 7 cents per KWh... I'm really not sure what the rates are out in Cali.) Seems like it would likely take quite a while to pay itself off at that rate...

Re:Cost Savings.... (4, Insightful)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464613)

Cost Savings

Cost savings, cost savings, cost saving... This is why humanity's lifespan as we know it will be much shorter than it could've been. It should not be just about the money and cost saving, but about nature saving, resource saving, human saving.

Any company who deploys renewable energy sources as a partial or total replacement, gets my support.

And, this news is proof for one more thing: geeks should have more money, they can do the coolest things.
 

Re:Cost Savings.... (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464725)

And, this news is proof for one more thing: geeks should have more money, they can do the coolest things.
I'm going to have to ask for a raise in the morning. :-)

Is this called 'late adoption'? (2, Informative)

nephridium (928664) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464349)

Use of solar panels goes way back [radford.edu] . I still can't believe Ronald Reagan took down those panels that Carter installed on the White House as well as axing the solar research program - weakass politics.. :(

I love google but I call "Yippe Skip" (2, Insightful)

dilvish_the_damned (167205) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464353)

Did we cross the threshold of solar panel arrays giving off more power before the MTBF than it takes to create them? If not then this is just showing off, or maybe more simply some exeutive being missguided. Its just google being wastfull.
It happens when your rich, I suppose.

wow by this way they will even index the sun. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464477)

yes.

Google is becoming bloated. Time to trim the fat. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464533)

I miss the days when Google was just about search engines. Now they're trying to be everything to everyone and they risk diluting their brand. Just ask these guys [tinyurl.com] what happens when you bite off more than you can chew.

Way to go Google! (1)

5plicer (886415) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464541)

I hope Apple is next to follow in your footsteps.

Dont be a solar wimpy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16464591)

What Google needs to do is buy one of those Russian Nuclear floating power plant,
or one of those float nuclear power plant that use in US submarine or aircraft carrier.

Imagine all the powers that Google can suck up - probably has enough spare electricity to sell back to Mtn View with a profit.

What this takes. (4, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464589)

OK. One square meter of solar panel is typically good for 130 watts at peak, but only about 655 watt hours per day, or 27 watts averaged over 24 hours. In other words, the average power is about 20% of the peak. So, to get 1.6 megawatts average power, you need about 60,000 square meters of panel, or an area 245 meters square. This is about two football fields of area, or three Wal-Mart Supercenter roofs.

A typical price for a good solar panel today is about $1000 for 160 watts peak. So to get 1.6 * 5 = 8 megawatts peak power, you need 50,000 of those panels, or about $50 million worth of panels. Batteries, inverters, and installation extra. (I suspect that Google is talking about 1.6MW of peak capacity, but that's a phony number to compare to other energy sources that can run 24 hours a day.)

There are already data centers that draw 30 megawatts continuous. That would take about a billion dollars worth of solar panels to power.

And by power plant standards, 30MW is dinky. Commercial power plants today run around a gigawatt.

Spy sats and black helicopters (1)

the packrat (721656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16464631)

Having realised that their secret base is now visible from the air both in their own carefully controlled Google Earth, and in competitor's products, the non-evil geniuses plan to put a huge solar reflector up that can dazzle satellites and helicopters. All that remains is thinking of a plausible cover story...
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