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HP invests big in solar and wind

Hewlett-Packard buys into solar power in San Diego, but Google still retains bragging rights for largest corporate solar installation.

Hewlett-Packard announced on Tuesday investments in renewable energy as part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from its operations.

The computing giant said it will install a 1-megawatt solar array in its San Diego facility.

SunPower will install its solar panels and sell the electricity the panels generate to HP at fixed rates under a power purchase agreement. The system will save HP $750,000 over 15 years and offset 1 million pounds of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of taking 100 cars off the road each year.

The San Diego installation will be made up of 5,000 panels on seven buildings. It's a relatively large solar array, but smaller than Google's 1.6-megawatt solar array, which is thought to be the largest corporate installation to date in the United States.

As part of the deal, HP employees are eligible for a $2,000 rebate for purchasing solar electric panels from SunPower, an amount that HP will match.

In Ireland, HP has contracted with wind developer Airtricity to purchase 80 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity in 2008. That arrangement will reduce HP's energy costs by $40,000 next year and eliminate the release of 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide, it said.

HP is considered a leader in environmental awareness and corporate social responsibility. Last year, it bought 11 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy to fuel its operations.