Verizon has become one of the latest big-name companies to announce new investments in renewable energy, with plans to spend $100 million on solar and fuel cell projects at 19 of its facilities in seven states, including Arizona, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina.
James Gowen, chief sustainability officer at Verizon, tells Solar Industry the company is undertaking renewable energy development because ‘it's the right thing to do,’ both from an environmental and business perspective.
"From a business perspective, our continuity is of critical importance to our business customers and partners," Gowen says." No matter what superstorm or disaster comes, our priority is to keep running the nation's most reliable network with uninterrupted service to those that depend on us.
"This investment is not going to take us 100 percent off the grid in any specific location, but it is a powerful answer in reducing the load on our nation's power grid while enhancing our proven service continuity – even during outages," he adds.
For its solar efforts, Verizon has partnered with SunPower Corp. to negotiate installing 5.4 MW of solar energy in six states. The arrays, ranging from about 100 kW to more than 1 MW, will be either roof, ground or solar canopy systems.
Through a multi-year services agreement, SunPower will provide design, engineering, construction, operations and management for the solar projects. In addition, SunPower will install all its own technology, including the SunPower T10 and T5 solar roof tiles.
SunPower President Howard Wenger says the partnership is a good fit for both companies.
"Verizon is all about quality and performance, and those are core values that SunPower shares," he says." This is a tremendous commitment Verizon is making to generate local green power to serve local demand at their facilities. It serves Verizon's sustainability goals while reducing operational costs."
Gowen notes that Verizon already uses 26 solar-assisted cell sites in remote areas in the western U.S." We know its value," he says." That is why we are bringing solar to our facilities."