Google has just invested $12 million USD in a new solar energy project in South Africa; it is the internet giant’s first renewable energy investment outside of North America and Europe. The project is called the Jasper Power Project, a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic site in the Northern Cape Province, near Kimberly.
The funding will ensure that Jasper becomes one of Africa’s largest and most productive solar energy projects. The plant could ultimately power 30,000 homes in South Africa and generate up to 18 gigawatts of renewable energy by the year 2030.
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,” according to an official blog post from Google. “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 investment comes at a crucial time for South Africa, which has experienced energy shortages in recent years. In 2008, a dangerously low shortage resulted in blackouts across the country and crippled much of South Africa’s economic growth at the time.
Previously, Google has invested $1 billion USD in renewable energy in North America and Europe, with this venture bringing them into Africa for the first time, with more investments in energy across the continent possible in the near future. At the time of its announcement, Google confirmed that the Jasper development will create up to 300 construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs at the site.