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Verizon Invests $100 Million in Solar and Fuel Cell Energy at Facilities Nationwide
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May 01, 2013

Verizon Invests $100 Million in Solar and Fuel Cell Energy at Facilities Nationwide

By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

New York City-based broadband and telecommunications company Verizon (News - Alert) plans to invest $100 million in a solar and fuel-cell energy project that will help power 19 of its facilities in seven states across the country.

The fuel cell and solar products will be installed at Verizon corporate offices, call centers and data centers nationwide. This is the company’s latest move toward reaching its goal of cutting its carbon intensity in half by 2020.

Upon completion in 2014, the project will enable Verizon to annually generate more than 70 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of its own green energy—enough to power more than 6,000 single-family homes for a year. The solar and fuel cell platform also will eliminate more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, or enough to offset the annual CO2 emissions from more than one million gallons of gas.

 “This is a natural evolution of our sustainability efforts and of our use of alternative energy to power a variety of our facilities,” said James Gowen, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer.  These projects will reduce our carbon footprint, relieve demand on the electrical grid and enhance the resiliency of our proven service continuity -- even during outages.”

Verizon has signed a multiyear agreement with San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower Corp. to deploy its high-efficiency rooftop- and ground-mounted solar photovoltaic systems as well as solar parking canopies at Verizon facilities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Arizona and North Carolina. The systems, which will generate approximately eight million kWh of electricity annually, are expected to be completed this year and to reduce Verizon’s annual carbon footprint by more than 5,000 metric tons of CO2.

Image courtesy SunPower
“Verizon and SunPower share a commitment to quality and reliability, and SunPower looks forward to working together to meet Verizon’s long-term renewable energy goals,” said Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions. “With SunPower’s energy services and high-efficiency systems, Verizon will benefit from clean, solar power generation and cost savings at their facilities.”

Verizon also will work with ClearEdge Power, a Hillsboro, OR-based manufacturer of scalable, distributed power systems, to install PureCell Model 400 fuel cell systems at Verizon sites in California, New Jersey and New York. The systems will generate more than 60 million kWh of electricity and result in a carbon reduction of approximately 6,000 metric tons per year.  The installation work—which represents ClearEdge’s largest single-user project to date—will begin soon and continue throughout the year.

“We are delighted that Verizon has recognized the value our products and experience can bring to their business operations,” said David B. Wright, ClearEdge Power president and CEO.  “This is a very exciting partnership for ClearEdge Power, and we are thrilled to be working with Verizon to help them reach their ambitious sustainability goals.”

An early adopter of fuel cell technologies, Verizon currently operates one of the largest fuel cell sites of its kind —helping to power an environmentally friendly call-switching center and office building in Garden City, Long Island, just outside the New York City metropolitan area.  Verizon also uses 26 solar-assisted cell sites in remote areas in the western United States.

Verizon has long been focused on energy efficiency and instituting sustainable real estate practices. Last month, its efforts were recognized once again when Verizon was named an ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for its operation of 128 ENERGY STAR-certified Verizon Wireless (News - Alert) stores.  

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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