It's no secret that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has some green tendencies. The latest evidence: The search giant plans to take a large step in making its headquarters green, using solar energy. The company is apparently gearing up make this the largest solar project by a corporation in the United States.

Google plans to build a rooftop solar power generation system capable of producing 1.6 megawatts of electricity. It plans to replace one-third of the power it uses in its headquarters with solar power -- although it's worth noting that this excludes the power used in its data centers.

Everybody knows that Google's sitting on a large amount of cash and a high level of profitability that makes it easier to justify such expenditures. However, Google has declined to outline the project's cost. The only insight so far is from a Reuters report that quoted Google Vice President of Real Estate David Radcliffe as saying, "We wanted to dispel the myth that you can't be both green and profitable."

Plenty of companies have come to appreciate the usefulness of alternative energy. Google rival Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) made a move earlier this year to set up a solar power generation system at its research site. Toyota's (NYSE:TM) campus in Torrance, Calif., has a solar panel system as well as a system for water conservation. Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFMI) made a big gesture toward wind power early this year, when it began subsidizing its energy use with renewable wind power credits. Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) is in the midst of constructing what is described as a sustainable, high-performance skyscraper in Manhattan, due for completion in 2008. (Read about it if you have a chance -- the building will have some pretty amazing features that make it both green and cost-effective.)

These are only a few examples. Lots of big corporations are beginning to make significant moves into green technology, often with the promise of cost savings. But Google has never disguised its interest in social issues, such as green initiatives. It recently announced a for-profit philanthropic arm that will fund companies involved in many socially forward spaces -- with its first move being into hybrid-vehicle development. It also released a Google Maps mash-up highlighting green vacation spots this past summer.

Whether Google stock is overvalued is a topic many investors disagree on. And whether Google should use its power for "good" -- and lead by example -- might be a bone of contention amongst some shareholders, too, even though Google made its social stance well known when it went public with its "don't be evil" mission. One thing I'm sure Google investors will agree on, however, is the hope that moves like this will not only make social sense, in keeping with the company's mission, but also will make dollars and cents -- in the form of eventually saving money and boosting profits.

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Whole Foods Market is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Try out Stock Advisor, and we'll send you a free report on the Fool's top two picks and Wall Street's dirtiest secret.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.