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Google Invests in South Africa

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Internet search giant Google Inc. (GOOG) announced an investment of $12 million in a 96 MW solar-power project, Jasper Power Project, in South Africa, which will be its first outside the U.S.

The project will also be funded by the Californian company, SolarReserve, supported by local players Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group, and backed by the Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa, the PEACE Humansrus Trust and Rand Merchant Bank.

This is the first time that Google is focusing on clean power projects outside the U.S. Through the Jasper Power Project, Google will be able to deliver clean energy equivalent to power roughly 30,000 homes in South Africa. Further, the solar power project will be able to create 300 construction jobs and 50 operational jobs upon completion. It will also be essential in rural development and education programs in the region.

For quite some time Google has been interested in clean technology rather than using fossil fuels. Earlier, in Jan 2013, it invested $200 million in a wind farm in west Texas. Google has been focusing on renewable energy to power its data centers. Since 2010, the company has invested in 10 renewable-energy projects.

Google has already committed more than $1 billion to solar and wind projects. Thus, the acquisition fits Google’ purpose of creating clean energy. The increased use of renewable energy by Google and other cloud computing providers will help to reduce global warming and fossil fuel consumption.

In the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Google’s gross revenue (including TAC) touched a record $14.4 billion, representing sequential and year-over-year increases of 2.3% and 36.2%, respectively. Excluding the $1.5 billion contribution from Motorola, revenues were up 21.9% from the year-ago quarter.

Google has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other technology stocks that are worth considering include Linear Technology Corp. (LLTC), ON Semiconductor Corp. (ONNN) and Intersil Corp. (ISIL), all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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