Microsoft set a goal of powering at least 50 percent of its datacenters with clean energy by 2018, with a second goal of reaching 60 percent by early 2020. This past week the company took a major step to fulfill those targets, announcing the purchase of 315 MW of energy from two new solar projects in the commonwealth of Virginia. With this commitment Microsoft will reach approximately 1.2 gigawatts in its global energy portfolio.
The agreement makes it the single largest corporate purchase of solar energy ever in the United States. The solar projects are part of a larger 500-MW solar development, owned and operated by sPower, an AES and AIMCo company. They will operate more than 750,000 solar panels spread across 2,000 plus acres in Virginia, producing approximately 715,000 MWh a year. It will become the fifth largest solar project in the country.
"Today, we're signing the largest corporate solar agreement in the United States, a 315 megawatt project in Virginia that will move us ahead of schedule in creating a cleaner cloud," said Brad Smith, president, Microsoft. The purchase further supports Microsoft’s sizeable presence in Virginia in terms of its physical presence through datacenters and office buildings.
The company’s early participation helps drive the large solar project forward, leading to more cost-competitive options for other buyers in Virginia. It will enable companies to purchase only the megawatts they need, while helping to bring connectivity to all Virginians in the form of broadband technology.
“Today's announcement demonstrates that Virginia is quickly becoming a global leader in the clean energy industry," said Governor Ralph Northam, in the press announcement.