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Google ends solar R&D initiative

Wednesday, November 23, Google announced the end of its Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C) initiative.

The RE<C program began 2007 and aimed to bring the price of renewable energies, particularly solar power, to reach parity with coal. Now, Google has decided to halt further R&D efforts.

Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice president for Operations and a Google Fellow, wrote in a blog post that “other institutions are better positioned…to take this research to the next level.”

Photo Credit: The Solar Ninja

The announcement was one of a few products slated to shut down. According to Hölzle, some of these products “haven’t had the impact we’d hoped for,” while some programs “have shown us a different path forward.”

The RE<C program included investments in companies developing cutting-edge technologies in solar and geothermal power. Google focused on a type of concentrating solar power called the solar power tower, with engineers working on reducing costs and water consumption.

While Google has decided to halt this work, the company has published key findings from the years of research.

Plus, Google will continue efforts to promote clean energy, including the already $850 million the group has invested in renewable technologies.


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