back to article Google spaffs $80m on Sun-powered kit: Calm down, Oracle. It's SOLAR

Google will invest $80m in solar-powered plants as it keeps in mind exactly what may end up powering its data centers in future. The ad giant and investment firm KKR will work together to bankroll the construction of six new solar farms in the American Southwest. The facilities are slated to be built in the desert regions of …

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  1. James 51

    I loathe Google's sprunging of our lives and serving us up as data sushi for advertisers but if they can do for renewable energy what they did for driverless cars, that would be something they could be proud of.

  2. The First Dave

    "enough to power 16,000 homes" - interesting, but how about a more relevant measure, ie milliDatacentres, or kiloServers, or MegaSearches ?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Reg units please!

      Enough power to flash fry 200 elephants every 3 minutes or something?

      1. David Pollard

        Re: Reg units please!

        As any ful kno, elephants don't fly.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a facility in Iowa that will rely entirely on wind power"

    So, it'll only be online one hour out of every four then ?

    I hope they don't forget to source the hundreds of litres of oil for the gears of the wind turbines from eco-friendly sources !

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: "a facility in Iowa that will rely entirely on wind power"

      I am sure they could turn to any number of commercial oils derived from plants.

      After all didn't 'Castrol' take its name from 'Castor Oil'?

      In the US, 'Canola' based oils are available.

      1. Euripides Pants Silver badge

        Re: "a facility in Iowa that will rely entirely on wind power"

        Iowa is full of corn. After they extract the corn syrup to give us diabetes, they could suck the corn oil out of the remaining mush.

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  5. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Meh

    Still won't help at night of course.

    Or when the clouds cover the sun.

    Now a satellite solar power station at >800Km would always be in sunlight.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Still won't help at night of course.

      ...no it wouldn't. At 800KM it would spend a significant portion of it's time in Earth's shadow, and the rest of the time frying hapless people and animals as it whips across the Earth faster than it could possibly track any ground stations.

      Perhaps you're thinking of geosynchronous orbit, which is 42,000 km (give or take), which would allow a satellite to park itself above the ground station and only microwave every satellite, station, ship, plane or bird that happened to cross it's beam. Even then, as any geosync orbit that isn't wildly elliptical (thus fluctuating in distance from the surface (and thus beam intensity) quite wildly) has to be at the equator, that satellite will certainly pass within Earth's shadow.

      You can see this phenomenon every month. There is a rather large example in the form of a large chunk of rock approximately 384,400km out. As I recall, our ancestors even created the concept of a "month" based on the tendency of that particular rock to "go dark" as it passed through Earth's shadow.

      The only way you're getting a satellite to experience 100% sunlight is a circumpolar orbit (which would fry a lovely ring around the terminator) or a geosynchronous polar orbit; from what I understand the vagaries of the magnetic fields and the Van Allen belts make that latter one a right bitch.

      Also: spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace...

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