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Google Complex, Mountain View, CA

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Google Employees Can Bring Dogs [not cats] to work

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. –

In the latest sign of its ambitious growth plans, Google Inc. has signed a 40-year lease to secure space for a huge office complex that will be built on a federal government research center near the Internet search leader’s Silicon Valley headquarters.

The 1.2 million-square-foot campus announced Wednesday fulfills a vision that Google (nasdaq: GOOG – news – people ) first laid out with the NASA Ames Research Center in 2005. The NASA center is within a 10-minute drive of Google’s headquarters in Mountain View.

Google anticipates needing the additional space for the thousands of workers it expects to hire as tries to mine more profits from the Internet’s advertising market and expand into other areas of technology and media.

In the last four years, Google has added more than 17,000 employees to boost its payroll to 19,156 workers. The growth has prompted the company to lease or buy many of the smaller offices circling its headquarters, a 1-million-square-foot campus that Google purchased for $319 million in 2006.

The NASA deal sets Google’s initial rent for 42.2 acres of land at $3.66 million per year. Google didn’t estimate how much it would cost to build the new campus, which will begin construction in 2013 and will include some housing for employees. Google expects to start the final phase of the campus in 2022.

After the 40-year lease expires, the agreement could be extended by as much as 50 more years.

Google hopes the location of its new offices will make it easier to draw on the brain power of NASA’s rocket scientists and give it another competitive advantage over its rivals.

The close ties between Google and NASA caused a backlash last year when company co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin negotiated an unusual deal to take off, land and park their private jet at a government-managed airport near where the new offices will be built.

Moffett Federal Airfield had been off-limits to most private planes, but Page and Brin got around that restriction by agreeing to pay NASA $1.3 million annually and making a commitment to fly the space agency’s equipment on research missions.

Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, CA is America’s largest solar electric installation on a single corporate site, and one of the largest such projects in the world, according to solar power systems integrators EI Solutions.

The solar firm has built an installation at the Googleplex with a total capacity of 1.6 megawatts (“enough to supply 1,000 average California homes,” according to EI’s press release). Equipment will include 9,212 solar panels by Sharp Electronics, to be placed on rooftops and parking lot tops throughout Google’s campus.

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In an effort to lead the solar power revolution by example, Google is building the country’s largest company-owned solar power infrastructure at their headquarters in Mountain View, CA.

The mostly rooftop-mounted panels will produce as much as 1.6 megawatts of energy, or approximately one one-thousandth of the energy required to send Michael J Fox. back to Hill Valley in 1952. At 1.6 megawatts, the system will produce approximately 30 percent of the total energy needed to run the Googleplex, a pet name for Google HQ. Said David Radcliffe, vice president of real estate at Google:

We wanted to dispel the myth that you can’t be both Green and profitable.

The effort isn’t the first corporate solar power solution, however, as Microsoft implemented a 2,288-panel system at its own Mountain View office earlier in the year. Microsoft’s system isn’t nearly as prolific as Google’s will be, however, as its 480 kilowatt peak capacity isn’t a third as much as the 1.6 megawatt output of Google’s system. In addition to rooftop installation, Google will use some of the 9,212 solar panels need for the project to build solar canopies over existing parking lots. Such use of the panels not only saves space on the Google campus, but additionally would shield employee automobiles from the harsh California sun.

Sharp Electronics, who will supply the panels needed for Google’s solar project, has its own 5.2 megawatt solar generation system at a factory in Kameyama, Japan. And while Sharp’s system marks the world’s largest implemented by a single corporate office, the title for world’s largest solar facility is held by a a station in Arnstein, Germany that maxes out 12 megawatts of output.

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Andrew Beebe of EI Solutions (L), with Google co-founder Sergey Brin (R).