As large companies look towards clean energy to fulfill their corporate responsibility obligations, solar is being seen as a suitable energy source to fuel their operations. Amazon is one of the huge companies that has got on the renewable energy bandwagon, with a pledge to go 100% renewable within the next ten years.
To achieve this goal, the company had partnered with solar developer Dominion last year, through its subsidiary Amazon Web Services (AWS), to fund the development of an 80 MW solar plant in Virginia. Now, AWS has expanded that partnership for a further 180 MW of solar within the eastern state.
A total of five PV projects will be developed by Dominion as part of the deal, including four 20 MW projects that Dominion will acquire from Virginia Solar, and then a mega 100 MW project that Dominion is acquiring from Community Energy Solar. Dominion has recruited Strata Solar and Signal Energy to serve as the EPCs on the projects.
Dominion subsidiary, Dominion Energy, has signed long-term power purchase agreements (PPA) with AWS for the sale of the energy generated at the plants once they are operational, which is expected to be in late 2017. Dominion were unwilling to reveal the details of the PPAs when pv magazine reached out for comment.
“This alliance with Amazon Web Service will include the two largest solar farms in the mid-Atlantic,” commented Chairman, President and CEO of Dominion Thomas Farrell. “This solar expansion is great for Dominion, Amazon and the Commonwealth of Virginia. It helps AWS meet its renewable needs, it expands Virginia’s clean electric generation fleet, and it creates economic development opportunities in largely rural communities.”
Amazon’s strides towards clean energy
In 2015, Amazon announced its ambition to meet 100% of its power for its global infrastructure needs using renewable energy within the next ten years. Its initial goal had been to reach 40% by the end of 2017, but that has since been increased to 50%. These new projects in Virginia will feed clean energy into the grid that supplies AWS data centers.
“We continue to ramp our sustainability efforts in areas where availability of renewable energy sources are low or proposed projects are stalled, and where the energy contribution goes onto the same electric grid that powers AWS data centers,” commented AWS Infrastructure Vice President Peter DeSantis. “By enabling 10 utility scale renewable projects in the U.S. to date, we are well-positioned to meet our latest goal of 50 percent renewable energy powering the AWS global infrastructure by the end of 2017.”
On the Dominion side, once these projects are completed, the company will have an operating solar capacity of 1,400 MW, of which 434 MW are in North Carolina and Virginia. One of the latest Dominion projects to go online, which was also as part of its partnership with AWS, was an 80 MW solar plant in Accomack County, Virginia.
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