Google has ordered 120,000 solar panels from a Croatian solar panel manufacturer and plans to use them to power offices in California

The US search and advertising giant will use panels from Croatia’s only photovoltaic module producer Solvis in a contract reportedly worth €10 million ($12.1 million). The panels could generate more than 50MW of power once installed.

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Solvis founder and CEO Stjepan Talan told Croatian press that the panels have been developed in conjunction with Google and a Swiss partner and that the company has been developing special custom panels for the technology giant for more than two years.

“The panels are a meter by a meter, silver in color, and 120,000 of them will be the cover of the dome at the huge Google information center. The building is now nearing completion and the installation of the dome will begin soon. The aerial projection is beautiful. Spectacular,” said Talan (translated).

Solvis’ solar panels generally have a surface area of two square meters and a power capacity of 500W, meaning Google’s tailored order could generate more than 50MW of power once installed. The panels will be ready for delivery at the end of March.

Update: This piece originally said Google was planning to install the solar panels on two new data centers in California. DCD has reached out to Google, who clarified they were intended for an office project, and won't end up at any of the company's data center sites. We regret the error.

Solar key to green pledges

The panels are the latest in Google's efforts to become more environmentally-friendly. Last year, the company pledged to move to 24/7 carbon-free energy for data centers and offices by 2030. The company currently sources 100 percent renewable energy for its facilities by purchasing carbon offsets and relies on fossil fuel sources when renewable sources aren’t available. On average, the company only runs directly on renewable power around 65 percent of the time. It does however partner with oil companies.

Rival cloud players Amazon and Microsoft have made similar sustainability pledges, with the former aiming to be carbon neutral by 2040, and the latter carbon negative by 2030. Last week Chindata became the first Chinese data center company targeting carbon neutral emissions, while in September 2020 CyrusOne pledged to be carbon neutral by 2040.

Founded in 2009 and based in Varaždin, around 75km (47mi) northeast of the capital Zagreb, Solvis employs more than 300 people and has an annual production capacity of 300MW. Last year the company announced plans to build the largest solar power plant in Croatia with an installed capacity of 50MW over an area of 70 hectares.