Google is installing solar panels at its corporate head office in Mountain View in an attempt to offset some of the high cost of its electricity consumption.

The solar panels will put out 1.6 megawatts of power, and will be the largest solar panel installation on a corporate campus in the US. The roofs of the four main buildings of the “Googleplex” will be covered by solar panels, while some car parks will be shaded by them.

Although the amount of energy the panels will produce equals the electricity used to power about 1000 homes in California, it only offsets about a third of Google's peak electricity consumption at its headquarters.

Google's statement on its blog reads, in part: “We believe that improving our environmental practices is not only our responsibility as a corporate citizen, but good business planning”.

According to Reuters, Microsoft has already installed a 2288-panel solar energy system at its headquarters; the production of both Microsoft's and Google's systems are dwarfed by the world's largest solar-power generation station, which produces 12MW for Arnstein in Germany.