Shortly before the Solar Energy Industries Association released a report recognizing the top corporate solar installers in the U.S., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its 16th annual Green Power Leadership Awards, which honor 16 Green Power Partners across the country – including Apple, Goldman Sachs and SUNY Buffalo – for achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable energy market and helping to reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.
“Green power is becoming more affordable and mainstream because of leaders like the Green Power Leadership Award winners,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “I commend the work they do to grow the renewable energy market and spur innovation, and as we continue to act on climate, I encourage them to continue to set a high bar for others to achieve.”
The EPA says its Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program that goes above and beyond regulatory requirements and encourages organizations to use green power as a way to help reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The EPA defines green power as electricity that does not produce GHG emissions and is generated from renewable sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, biogas and low-impact hydroelectric sources. The awards recognize participating organizations across five categories.
The 2016 Excellence in Green Power Use Award winners include the following:
– Cambridge, Mass.-based Biogen Inc. procured all of its U.S. electricity from renewable sources in 2015 and the previous year achieved carbon neutrality across its entire value chain.
– New York, N.Y.-based BNY Mellon met all of its annual electricity demand with green power in 2015 and became carbon neutral for its emissions that year.
– Crandon, Wis.-based Forest County Potawatomi Community used 100% renewable energy in 2015 and installed a portfolio of solar photovoltaic systems at 15 tribal facilities.
– New York, N.Y.-based Goldman Sachs used green power for 100% of its U.S. operations and achieved carbon neutrality in 2015 for its emissions.
– The Government of the District of Columbia finalized a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to provide renewable electricity from a wind farm in Pennsylvania and executed two solar PPAs on 50 district government sites.
– Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel Corp. purchased 100% green power for its domestic operations and installed more than 60 on-site renewable energy projects to directly supply facility power needs.
– Racine, Wis.-based SC Johnson procured 44% of its U.S. electricity in 2015 from renewable sources and owns and operates its own landfill gas system and wind turbines.
The 2016 Green Power Partner of the Year Award winners include the following:
– San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco Systems more than doubled its green power use in 2015, representing 97% of its total U.S. consumption and encouraged its vendors, business partners, and supply chain to reduce emissions.
– Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Jackson Family Wines purchased 100% green power for the company’s annual electricity use and increased green power use to 35% for wine-making operations by installing on-site solar across nine wineries.
– Buffalo, N.Y.-based University at Buffalo (UB), the State University of New York procured more than 212 million kWh of wind-sourced renewable energy, making it one of the largest purchasers of green power of any New York State agency and the largest college and university purchaser in the nation, according to the EPA. UB also has on-site solar installations on its campus.
The 2016 Sustained Excellence in Green Power Award winners include the following:
– Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple used 100% renewable energy for its entire U.S. operations and is the second largest user of on-site renewables in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Apple’s renewable energy generation projects include solar PV in North Carolina, Nevada and Arizona, micro-hydro facilities in Oregon, and partnerships with utilities and providers of grid-purchased green power.
– Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based Kohl’s Department Stores procured 1.4 billion kWh of green power in 2015 through more than 60 long-term solar PPAs, Kohl’s-owned solar systems that generate green power on-site, and renewable energy certificate purchases. Kohl’s also installed three new solar trees at its Innovation Center and achieved net-zero emissions for its Scope 2 electricity use through 2015.
The 2016 Direct Project Engagement Award winners include the following:
– Michigan-based General Motors’ Orion Assembly Plant generated more than half of the facility’s total electricity usage from its on-site landfill gas system. Gas that would have been flared at a nearby landfill is now redirected and piped to the facility to create electricity for building vehicles, notably the Chevrolet Bolt EV.
– Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc. signed 15 long-term PPAs with wind and solar projects totaling more than 2 GW of installed capacity, making Google one of the largest non-utility purchasers of renewable energy in the country, as of December 2015. Google also pilots renewable energy technologies on its campuses.
– Ontario, N.Y.-based HARBEC Inc. integrated on-site wind generation with a combined heat and power plant into a microgrid that uses renewable energy; the company’s two wind turbines provide approximately 60% of the company’s electrical power.
Meanwhile, the 2016 Green Power Community of the Year Award went to Maplewood Community, Mo., whose green power increased by more than 300%, resulting in more than 5% of the community-wide total electricity use last year.