The tech giant has announced the purchase of 315 MW of energy from two major solar projects in Virginia currently under construction.
Once up and running, Pleinmont I and II will subsequently comprise 750,000 solar panels spread over more than 2,000 acres. It will produce around 715,000 MWh of solar energy a year.
Because of the size of the sale, Microsoft Corp. moves closer to its goal of reaching 60 per cent renewable energy by early 2020. Microsoft datacentres currently source 44 per cent of energy needs from renewable energy, including wind, solar power and hydropower.
In fact, the software company buys renewable energy certificates when unable to use clean energy directly. Taking these into account, Microsoft claims it has therefore used 100 per cent renewable energy since 2014.
Microsoft walks the talk in sustainability projects
Microsoft has an impressive record when it comes to investment in sustainable ventures.
- Offsets the carbon impact of staff air travel.
- Invests in community projects like clean cookstoves.
- Focuses on habitat protection and restoration.
- Backs projects advancing solar power and lighting.
According to Microsoft, company projects are having a positive impact of more than seven million people across the globe. Results include:
- Reducing carbon emissions by 9.5 million metric tons.
- Buying 14 billion kWh of green energy.
- Cutting energy consumption by 10 per cent at campus HQ in Redmond, Washington.
Major corporate solar agreement creating ‘cleaner cloud’
Microsoft President Brad Smith claims the new solar purchase will create a ‘cleaner cloud’ and make it easier for others to access renewable energy.
Because Microsoft was involved, it was easier for sPower to get the Pleinmont solar energy farms over the line. It also boosts the profile of solar energy and has a trickle down effect on the number of people seeking out solar quotes for their homes.
The Pleinmont deal subsequently brings Microsoft’s total of directly purchased renewable energy to around 1.21 gigawatts. This was the magical amount needed to fly Marty McFly’s DeLorean through time in Back to the Future.