Facebook is teaming up with Cogenra Solar to put a solar cogeneration system in at its headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. According Cogenra, one of the company’s dual energy-production systems – which use photovoltaics to produce electricity and solar heat to make hot water – will go on the roof of Facebook’s renovated fitness center.

(Related: Google’s Solar Energy Gambit)

Whether the move is part of a concerted effort to curry favor with the green crowd or not, this marks Facebook’s second pro-renewables move in the past week: Earlier, Facebook got a thumbs-up from Greenpeace, a frequent critic, when it confirmed it would build a giant data center near the Arctic Circle in Sweden that would rely almost wholly on renewable energy.

Like other solar-power systems, Cogenra’s starts with mirrors to focus sun energy. But it then turns that sunlight on photovoltaic panels, producing electricity, while also capturing the heat energy in liquid-chemical filled tubes to produce hot water. The company says its proprietary technology snares up to 80 percent of the sun’s delivered energy and produces five times the energy of traditional PV systems.

According to Cogenra, Facebook will be getting a 24-module installation with combined electric and thermal output of 60 kilowatts (kW). This will be enough to displace more than 60 percent of the fitness center’s natural gas needs, as well as a portion of its grid-fed electricity consumption, Congenra said.

Cogenra was in the news a year ago when with much fanfare – former British Prime Minster Tony Blair was in attendance – it showed off a 272-kilowatt solar cogeneration system at a Sonoma winery.

— Pete Danko

This post originally appeared at EarthTechling and was reposted with permission.


  1. Jason
    November 12, 2011, 11:45 am

    I think it’s great that Facebook is going to solar power. Most residential solar, Sacramento included, is still too expensive for most home owners, but seeing big corporations like Facebook take the plunge can be great inspiration.

  2. will sackinger
    rock hill,s.c.
    November 7, 2011, 2:46 pm

    I seldom use blog’s and this may not be the place that I need to be but here goe’s. When I was in sience class in gramer school I learned that humans or nothing could sustain “perpetutal motion”.Well the closest that we have gotten to this is (traffic) So why not use this to generate electric power? A ll interstate hihgways could be transformed into linier genoratores.Place iron bars wrapped in copper in every lane on the highway,and magnets on the underside of all cars and trucks.Tie this into the existing power structure to off set the use of coal and nuculer plants.The magnets could be raised and lowered with sensors as the drivers enter and exit the interstate system,as not to interfear with local streest. will,