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Verizon Plans $100m Investment in Solar, Fuel Cells

Leon Walker

SunPower panelsVerizon is to invest $100 million in solar and fuel-cell energy projects with SunPower and ClearEdge Power that will help power 19 of its facilities in seven states across the country.

When completed next year, the project will enable Verizon to annually generate more than 70 million kWh of its own green energy while eliminating more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the company says.

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

Verizon will work with ClearEdge Power, a 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, ClearEdge’s largest single-user project to date, will begin soon and continue throughout the year.

Verizon has also signed a multiyear agreement with SunPower and is negotiating the deployment of high-efficiency rooftop- and ground-mounted solar photovoltaic systems as well as solar parking canopies (pictured) at Verizon facilities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Arizona and North Carolina. The systems, which will generate approximately 8 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.

Verizon’s carbon efficiency metric, unveiled in 2011, divides the company’s carbon emissions in metric tons by the amount of data that it transports, in terabytes. The carbon emissions used in the metric include electricity, building fuels and vehicle fuels. The company says this metric allows it to accurately quantify the impact of all its environmental initiatives for the first time. Tests using the metric showed a 15 percent improvement in the company’s carbon efficiency from 2009 to 2010.



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