Microsoft Going All-In On Solar Power

Recent Microsoft deal marks the largest single solar power purchase ever by a big corporation.

Microsoft building

Many people chastise big businesses for not being more committed to making a push toward using more renewable energy sources. That criticism is not without its merit. Over the years big business has shown a reluctance to deviate from their heavy use of fossil fuels and reduce their company’s carbon footprint on the earth. Well one name you can no longer keep on this list is Microsoft. They continue to invest in such renewable energy sources as solar power. 

No one is quite sure what this big solar energy consumption push by Microsoft is trying to accomplish. Are they truly being an environmentally conscious company or just making it appear to be that way. Whichever it is, these new energy investments are helping make good use of renewable solar power and they also help create jobs in the energy sector. 

Part of the Largest Corporate Solar Energy Purchase Ever 

What is Microsoft’s latest venture into the solar energy marketplace? It’s a contract they recently signed with two new solar energy producing fields that are being built in Virginia. The solar energy provider is a company called ‘sPower’, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of AES/AIMCo. These fields are made up of some 750,000 solar energy collecting panels and are spread out in well over 2000 acres of land. 

Microsoft will buy 315 megawatts of the energy that is produced by these two solar fields. The fields that source this solar energy for Microsoft are simply called Piedmont 1 and Piedmont 2. The two parties arrived at the 315 megawatt number because that’s what Microsoft believes it will take to power all of their Virginia based data centers. 

The deal was struck on 3/22/2018 and apparently many of the players involved including Microsoft are very happy about it. 

The importance of solar energy deals like this was not lost on Virginia Governor Ralph Norman either. He heaped tons of praise on Microsoft because he believes there investment in solar energy will not only make Virginia a little greener but it will also encourage growth in renewable energy related fields. The governor went on to say that building up the renewable energy economy in Virginia was something they had been trying to do.  

Even better yet it marks the largest single solar power purchase ever by a big corporation. 

Asia Saw Microsoft’s First Big Solar Energy Purchases 

The Virginia solar energy purchase is not the first foray into investing more in renewable solar energy. They have been very active players recently in Asia too. There are two big solar energy investments on their part that come to mind. Microsoft definitely seems to be going all in on solar energy and they are not afraid to switch to it in several different corners of the world. 

The giant tech company’s first big solar energy deal was struck in Singapore where Microsoft has a pretty sizeable facility. They agreed to purchase the entire output of solar energy that one 60 megawatt facility could provide for them.  

Apparently, they had another solar energy deal in the works at the same time as the first. Just 3 days after announcing the Singapore solar energy deal they announced another one in India, too. This one was an agreement to purchase some 30 megawatts of energy from another solar energy provider. 

Unlike the Singapore deal, Microsoft is not purchasing the total solar energy production at the Virginia solar fields. When they are finished they will have a max capacity of 500 megawatts and Microsoft is only purchasing 315 megawatts as previously stated. 

Will More Businesses Follow Microsoft’s Lead? 

It’s inspiring to say the least that this tech giant is making progress in powering more of their business centers with renewable solar energy. This pattern sets a great example for other big businesses, that it’s possible to maintain or lower their energy costs and use more renewable energy sources at the same time. Hopefully it’s a trend that more big business will follow. Whether they do or not it remains to be seen. It stands to reason that more big companies will turn to renewable energy sources after Microsoft’s so far successful pivot towards them. 



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