Solar energy to help McDonald’s meet sustainability goals


EDF Renewables North America signed a 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) with McDonald’s Corp. for energy from the 255 MWac / 332 MWdc Apollo Solar project that EDF Renewables is constructing in Texas. The solar project is expected to begin delivering electricity in June 2024.

“The McDonald’s team was determined through their use of innovative contracting structures to execute a major solar procurement that would significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and they found a great partner with EDF Renewables. We are proud to have supported them in this effort and congratulate all parties involved for reaching this exciting outcome,” said Walid Norris, vice president, client solutions for Customer First Renewables, an advisory group that helps organizations capture the social, environmental, and economic value of renewables.

Once complete, the Apollo Solar project is expected to generate 619,000 MWh of low-carbon energy annually, enough to meet the consumption of over 1,200 U.S. McDonald’s restaurants. This is equivalent to avoiding over 439,000 metric tons of CO₂ emissions annually, or the equivalent of greenhouse gas emissions from over 95,000 passenger vehicles driven over the course of one year. Approximately 300 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase with more than $30 million generated in new tax revenue over the operating life for taxing entities.

“We applaud McDonald’s for taking action on climate change and are honored to partner with them to address their restaurant electricity carbon footprint,” said Matt McCluskey, vice president development, South Central Region for EDF Renewables.  “Through the purchase of clean energy from Apollo Solar, McDonalds will be able to reduce GHG emissions in support of their sustainability goals while the project construction phase will provide the local community with a boost to the economy through job creation, local spending with vendors, and an expanded tax base.”

“We are thrilled to add EDF Renewables and the Apollo Solar project to our U.S. renewable energy portfolio as part of our continued commitment to climate action,” said Elaine Strunk, Sr. Director Global Sustainability, McDonald’s. “Apollo Solar plays a significant role in our science-based emissions reduction target for 2030 and brings a considerable amount of new renewable generation to the grid. Together with EDF Renewables, this project furthers our shared goal of making a more sustainable planet for generations to come.”

Signing on for 15 years of solar from the Apollo Solar project is not the company’s first foray into solar energy. Two years ago McDonald’s announced its commitment to achieving net zero emissions across its global operations by 2050. The company joined the United Nations Race to Zero campaign and signing on to the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign.

The first net zero McDonald’s was opened in 2020 at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The building is covered with 55.8 kW of Onyx Solar photovoltaic glass, and also has vertical gardens to absorb the CO2 already present in the atmosphere.

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