Google seeks power by building solar mirrors

Cleaner, cheaper energy the goal for challenging solar project

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Over the years, many have accused Google's healthy profits as being little more than the product of smoke and mirrors, so they'll probably be pleased to see the search and advertising giant getting into actually building real mirrors.

The move is part of Google's work on solar thermal technology, where the sun is used to heat materials that go on to produce steam to drive turbines and generate electricity.

Unusual materials

As part of that, the company is working on new mirror technology for focusing the sun's rays cheaply and efficiently.

Google's Bill Weihl explained to Reuters: "We've been looking at very unusual materials for the mirrors, both for the reflective surface as well as the substrate that the mirror is mounted on."

Government cash

If it can come up with the basic hardware needed, the next stage will involve testing, then – most likely – persuading governments to get involved to invest in making the technology viable on a large scale.