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Google Reaps Tax Breaks in $1.4 Billion Clean Energy Bet

On a Northern California farm where silage for animal feed once grew, Google Inc. is generating power from more than 100,000 solar panels to heat nearby homes - - and double down on an area of energy many investors shun.

The Galt solar farm, 20 miles south of Sacramento, is one of 15 alternative-energy projects that Google has funded since 2010 as part of a more than $1.4 billion investment in clean power production. That makes the Internet search giant the biggest backer of U.S. alternative-energy projects over that stretch, excluding financial institutions and utilities, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.