Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp is celebrating the opening of the 80 MW AC Aulander Holloman Solar Facility in North Carolina, bringing the financial services company to 100% renewable energy through one single project.
Built by solar developer SunEnergy1, the facility is expected to generate clean power that is enough to eliminate 143,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases and power 25,000 homes.
The project was developed as a result of a virtual power purchase agreement (PPA) Fifth Third announced in March 2018. The agreement was designed to get Fifth Third to 100% renewable power, one of its five goals for environmental sustainability to be met by 2022. Fifth Third is now set to achieve that goal three years ahead of schedule.
The PPA facilitated the construction of the project by guaranteeing a fixed price for the electricity it generates. The electricity is expected to be equal to or more than the amount Fifth Third uses in one year and will be resold at market rates into the local grid. Fifth Third will retire the renewable energy credits (RECs) from the project and achieve 100% renewable power.
“We are extremely proud to be the first Fortune 500 Company to power up a single solar project that will achieve 100 percent renewable power,” says Greg D. Carmichael, chairman, president and CEO of Fifth Third Bancorp.
The system includes more than 350,000 solar panels using single-axis tracking systems and more than 2,000 inverters and related subsystems. The 80 MW AC facility consists of roughly 120 MW DC of solar panels, enabling the project to generate approximately 202,000 MWh of electricity per year. The panels were installed over 1,400 acres in Hertford County, one of Fifth Third’s key market states.
The facility enables benefits beyond the environment, too: SunEnergy1 employed approximately 1,000 workers during construction and contributed tens of millions of dollars to the tax base in Hertford County.
Fifth Third was assisted in the selection and execution of the power purchase agreement by Schneider Electric’s Energy & Sustainability Services.
“Fifth Third is making history,” adds Amy Davidsen, executive director for North America at The Climate Group, which runs the global RE100 initiative for companies committed to 100% renewable electricity. “They were the first member company to contract for 100 percent solar power and are demonstrating that renewables make business sense. By adding clean power to America’s electricity grid, they’re accelerating a cleaner future for us all – and leading the way for other companies to follow suit.”
Drone footage of the solar facility can be seen below: