Google has been investing a lot in traditional wind and solar, along with more innovative renewable energy projects. But most of that is in the U.S. and so far they had not invested any money into renewable in Africa. That has changed with a new $12 million USD (103 million Rand) investment in the Jasper Power Project, a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa (see map below).
When up and running, the Jasper project will be one of the largest solar installations on the continent, generating enough electricity to power 30,000 South African homes.
South Africa has ambitious goals for renewable energy:
Back in 2008, South Africa experienced a severe energy shortage, which resulted in blackouts throughout the country and slowed down economic growth. Since then the South African government has been actively supporting the growth of new sources of electricity to power the nation. While today South Africa is primarily dependent on fossil fuels, there’s lots of potential for renewable energy—it’s a country blessed with abundant wind and solar resources—and the government has set an ambitious goal of generating 18 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030 (as a comparison, the entire South African grid is currently 44 GW).