Facebook’s solar secret

Facebook says it will recoup the costs of its solar project in five years. But how will we know?

Facebook is installing a solar energy system to power and provide hot water for its 10,000 square-foot fitness facility.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports,

The system will be designed and installed by Cogenra Solar, a Mountain View startup that uses the sun’s energy to produce electricity and hot water at the same time. The collection of solar cells, mirrors and pipes will sit atop Facebook’s 10,000-square-foot fitness center, powering the exercise equipment and churning out steaming water for the locker rooms.

The technology’s dual use makes it far more cost-effective than conventional solar systems that provide electricity alone, said Cogenra CEO Gilad Almogy. And while neither company will say how much the array will cost Facebook, Almogy said the social networking giant will recoup its investment in less than five years.

“It’ll be a shorter payback than any other form of renewable energy,” Almogy said.

The latter claim might have more credibility if Facebook would disclose the cost now.

Read the Chronicle article “Facebook to use solar power for electricity, water”.