Verizon announced that it will invest $100 million in solar and fuel cells to supply power for 19 facilities in seven states.
A variety of buildings, including corporate offices, call centers, data centers are involved in the project, intended to help Verizon meet its target of cutting carbon intensity – carbon emissions produced per terabyte of data flowing through its networks – 50% by 2020.
The company hasn’t disclosed the size of the projects, but they will produce 70 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually and will be running by next year.
“These projects will reduce our carbon footprint, relieve demand on the electrical grid and enhance the resiliency of services – even during outages,” says James Gowen, Chief Sustainability Officer.
SunPower will supply rooftop, ground-mounted and solar parking canopies in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Arizona and North Carolina.
ClearEdge Power is installing fuel cell systems in California, New Jersey and New York – its largest single-user project to date. They will run on natural gas.
Verizon was an early adopter of fuel cells and operates one of the largest systems in the US at a call-switching center and office building in Garden City, N.Y. Those systems kept running even when the grid went down during Superstorm Sandy.
Importantly, the company will own the systems rather than buying the electricity through power purchase agreements. ClearEdge and SunPower will provide ongoing maintenance.
Verizon also uses 26 solar-assisted cell sites in remote areas of the western US to help power that portion of its wireless network.
It has 128 Energy Star-certified Verizon Wireless retail stores and 130 are LEED certified.
The information and communications technology industry (ICT) is one of the most energy intensive in the US, consuming 3% of electricity.
Verizon is actively involved in developing smart grid offerings, such as cloud-based meter data management for the utility industry and smart phone controls on home appliances.