Online retail powerhouse Amazon is doing some shopping of its own – this time for clean electricity generated at a solar farm. The power will be harnessed to support Amazon’s data centers, and the company has announced a goal of using 100 percent renewable energy across its global infrastructure – with an eye on achieving 40 percent renewable energy usage by the end of 2016.
The 80 megawatt solar farm is owned by Dominion Energy and is located on Virginia’s Eastern Shore – home to many Amazon data centers. Fortune reports that more than half of Amazon Web Services cloud servers are in the state.
Construction is scheduled to begin later this year, with the facility opening its doors in the fall of 2016. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that, “The site is slated to use 250,000 solar panels across 900 acres, generating enough electricity to power about 15,000 homes in a year.”
Amazon joins a who’s who of online companies – Google, Apple and Facebook – that have incorporated clear energy targets. Apple will power a Singapore data center, offices and store with 100 percent solar energy beginning in 2016.
Solar provides commercial real estate developers with opportunity too. Area Development cites a U.S. Solar Market Insight report that credits commercial buildings with adding 1,000+ megawatts of solar in 2014, and a Holyoke, Massachusetts, commercial rooftop solar project, says MassLive, spurred a $2 million deal that involves tax credits and the Holyoke Gas and Electric Department buying power that the 3,762 panels harness – enough to power roughly 200 homes per year.
Have you developed a property that captures clean electricity, or have you developed a building that uses it? Tell Market Share readers about your experiences in the comments.
Kathryn Hamilton, CAE, is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.