Google invests in California solar project

Recurrent Energy CEO Arno Harris said Tuesday that the investment shows that solar energy in the United States is viable.

“The investment is a clear demonstration of solar’s ability to attract private capital from well-established investors like Google and KKR,” Harris said in a statement. “This transaction provides an example of the direction solar is headed as a viable, mainstream part of our energy economy.”

The announcement comes as Republicans in Congress raise questions about solar power amid the bankruptcy of Solyndra, the California solar panel maker that received a $535 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration in 2009.

The U.S. solar industry faces major challenges, including uncertainty surrounding government incentives and major competition from countries like China, which have invested billions in the industry.

But the industry says solar energy can be a boon to the economy, creating thousands of jobs and helping to wean the country off its dependence on fossil fuels.

Google has made major investments in renewable energy in recent years. The company said it has put $915 million in various projects, including rooftop solar and wind.

The company said it was its first investment in utility-scale solar power generation.