Google.org (the philanthropic arm of Google Inc) today announced the RechargeIT initiative that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and oil dependence by speeding up the take-up of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

As part of this initiative, Google.org awarded $1 million in grants and announced plans for a $10 million request for proposals to fund development, adoption and commercialisation of plug-ins, fully electric cars and related vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.

As well as this scheme, Google Inc. announced that it has switched on the solar panel installation at its Mountain View Californian headquarters, which will help the company reduce its environmental footprint and power its plug-ins with clean solar electricity.

At 1.6 megawatts - and with an electricity output capable of powering approximately 1000 average California homes - the Google project is the largest solar installation to date on any corporate campus in the United States and one of the largest on any corporate site in the world.

"Google is committed to using its resources to help solve the global climate challenge", said Dr. Larry Brilliant, Executive Director of Google.org.

"Google.org is a hybrid philanthropy, bringing together the active engagement of the broader Google corporation, as well as investments in for-profits, traditional grants, policy work, and public information."

"RechargeIT brings together all of these elements to help accelerate progress on plug-ins. By demonstrating new clean energy technologies and how they can be connected to the grid, we hope to spur demand and encourage car manufacturers to make these vehicles commercially available on a large scale on an urgent basis."