Google announced Tuesday that it will spend $1.3 billion over three years on a solar energy project in southern Ontario.
The investment, which is part of the company’s efforts to help low-income Canadians afford the power they need to live well and to reduce climate change, will also help Canada’s solar energy industry grow.
The $1,000 per kilowatt hour ($KWh) investment comes from Google Ventures and Google’s New Ventures Fund.
The solar project will be built at the University of Guelph’s solar array.
It will provide power to 1,000 homes and businesses in Guelpawaga and will be powered by wind and solar.
The company said it will also offer a solar-based energy-efficient lighting system that will be sold to other communities and the municipal utility of Guellapawaga.
The project will help more than 3,500 low- and moderate-income residents in Guellupawaga, which has an unemployment rate of 14 per cent, and surrounding communities, it said.
Google said the project is expected to have an economic impact of $250 million per year, which includes the cost of construction, operations and maintenance.
The Canadian solar industry is currently growing in Canada at a pace of about 100 per cent a year, said Dave Schumacher, executive vice-president of the Ontario Solar Council, which represents about 20 solar companies in the province.
About 30 companies are registered in Ontario, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The province is considering several new tax incentives for solar companies to build solar arrays, Schumachersaid, including one that would allow them to be taxed at a lower rate.
Ontario is one of only a few provinces with a tax on the sale of solar panels.
The federal government announced Tuesday it is set to launch a $2.3-billion tax credit for renewable energy in its new climate plan.
Google, Google Ventures, New Ventures and the Ontario Sustainability Council, a group of municipalities and businesses that represent about 50 companies in Guelandaga, are also partnering on a similar project in Guemmican.