Inside a Verizon Terremark data center. (Photo: Verizon)

Inside a Verizon Terremark data center. (Photo: Verizon)

Verizon Makes $40 Million Investment In Solar Energy

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Telecom giant Verizon is boosting its solar capacity, building out 10.2 megawatts generated by over 44,000 solar panels manufactured by SunPower. The investment in clean energy will total $40 million and follows a previous investment of $100 million on solar panels and fuel cells. The company will have around 25 megawatts of clean energy under management.

Verizon is cutting its carbon emissions footprint, a trend among the largest telecom and Internet players. Rooftop and ground-mounted solar-power systems will be located in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

The price of solar panels has dropped considerably since its investment of $100 million last year. That investment added around 5 megawatts of solar and around 10 megawatts from a few dozen fuel cells from ClearEdge. The fuel cells provide 10 megawatts powering the wireless network in six different locations in western U.S.

“Our investment in on-site green energy is improving the quality of life in the communities we serve by reducing CO2 levels and reducing strain on commercial power grids, while increasing our energy efficiency,” said James Gowen, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer. “By almost doubling the amount of renewable, solar energy we’re using, we are making further progress toward Verizon’s goal of cutting our carbon intensity in half by 2020, in part, by leveraging the proven business case for clean-energy alternatives to the commercial power grid.”

In addition to various solar and fuel cell installations at Verizon data centers, the company has also implemented better cooling efficiency and energy-consumption reduction measures in its data centers.

There is a very healthy competition among Internet and telecom players to build out renewable and clean energy. Apple, Google, eBay and Microsoft all have clean power initiatives in play, whether it’s building solar panels or buying clean energy from the utility.

Apple recently got the green light to build out its third solar farm in Maiden, North Carolina, a 100-acre 17.5 megawatt plant. The company is big on solar, also planning a 20 megawatt solar farm in Reno, Nevada. Apple’s data center energy supply is 100 percent renewable. Also in North Carolina, it uses fuel cells that make electricity out of biogas from nearby landfills.

Facebook uses solar at its Prineville facility. The social network also used its leverage to push its utility in Iowa, convincing MidAmerican Energy to power its data center with wind energy. MidAmerican’s investment totals $1.9 billion in wind power generation. It’s the largest order of onshore wind turbines to date, in support of Facebook’s demands.

eBay provided a look into its solar array last year. The array features 72,000 square feet of solar panels and covers nearly the entire roof of the data center.

Dupont Fabros, Cisco, and Emerson Network are just a few more that have installed solar panels in support of operations

Foxconn recently announced plans to design containerized data centers that come with renewable energy generation capabilities, such as photovoltaic panels. The containers are targeted at “hyperscale” internet giants.

About the Author

Jason Verge is an Editor/Industry Analyst on the Data Center Knowledge team with a strong background in the data center and Web hosting industries. In the past he’s covered all things Internet Infrastructure, including cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS), mass market hosting, managed hosting, enterprise IT spending trends and M&A. He writes about a range of topics at DCK, with an emphasis on cloud hosting.

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