HP greens the bottom line
Overshadowed by Google’s jump
into the renewable energy business on Tuesday was Hewlett-Packard’s more modest move to go green by installing a 1-megawatt solar array at its San Diego facility, buying wind power for its Ireland operations and subsidizing employees’ home solar systems.
In Silicon Valley these days putting a whopping solar array up on your roof is akin to having the coolest corporate jet or your CEO
back-ordered for a Tesla Roadster. Google (GOOG), of course, has the biggest, a 1.6-megawatt monster that covers buildings and carports at the Googleplex in Mountain View. Not to be outdone, Applied Materials (AMAT) is planning an even larger solar system for its headquarters in neighboring Santa Clara.
HP has a solar array in San Diego. The 5,000-panel system carries no capital costs for HP as the array will be financed and operated by a third-party affiliated with solar cell maker SunPower (SPWR). The Silicon Valley company will install the array and perform maintenance for 15 years while HP purchases the electricity produced by the solar system at a guaranteed below-market rate. That gives the company a hedge against rising energy costs. (HP thinks it’ll save $750,000 over 15 years.)
Last, SunPower will give HP employees a $2,000 rebate if they
install the company’s residential solar systems, with HP providing
another $2,000. That’s on top of state rebates under the California
Solar Initiative program.