Microsoft this morning announced the signing of what they call the “largest corporate solar agreement in the United States.” The company detailed it will be purchasing a total of 315 megawatts of power from two solar power facilities in Virginia as part of their goal of using 60% renewable energy by early 2020, and 50% by 2018.
Under the agreement, solar energy will fully power Microsoft’s Virginia data centers, utilizing a total of 750,000 solar panels spread across 2,000 acres. This is also part of an existing 500 MW project which aims to double the current solar capacity in Virginia— helping both Microsoft and the local community. “This project means more than just gigawatts because our commitment is broader than transforming our own operations; it’s also about helping others access more renewable energy,” said Microsoft president Brad Smith in a statement today.
The Redmond giant says that this latest deal brings their directly purchased renewable energy to 1.2 gigawatts, which is enough power to light up 100 million LED light bulbs. With all other projects under consideration, it also brings Microsoft over their 50 percent target and moves them toward their 60 percent goal well ahead of schedule.
Microsoft noted sPower is the project developer for the solar agreement, but the company did not disclose the financial aspects of this deal. “Microsoft’s participation is a game-changer for this project and for other buyers…Their early commitment helped ensure that the project continued to move forward and come to fruition at a time of regulatory uncertainty,” said Ryan Creamer, CEO of sPower.Further reading: Microsoft, Renewable Energy, Solar Power