Google has been making investments in US clean tech projects for some time, and it’s just announced the first such move in Europe.

The company will make a €3.5 million (around $5m US) investment in a solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Germany. The plant consists of 47 hectares (116 acres) of solar panels situated in Brandenburg an der Havel, near Berlin. It has a peak capacity of 18.65MWp, putting it among the largest in the country. Google says that the plant should provide power for 5000 homes in the local area.

Last year, Google invested $40m in a North Dakota wind farm and also put money into a project designed to bring more such facilities to the mid-Atlantic coast. Its Green Investments page also lists over $100 million in clean tech investments by its Google.org non-profit arm.

Like its self-driving car project, clean tech isn’t directly related to Google’s core business, but if we can do more online while our cars drive for us, and we have sustainable power sources to ensure that we stay online wherever we are, the company clearly benefits in the long run.