Verizon Boosts Renewable Energy Investment to $140 Million

No longer are many companies seeing renewable energy as "nice to do," rather it’s becoming part of business strategy and in Verizon’s case it raises shareholder value.

After announcing a $100 million investment to run facilities on solar and fuel cells last year, Verizon is spending another $40 million on solar systems in 2014.

Eight facilities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York are getting a combined 10.2 megawatts (MW) after adding 14.2 MW of solar and fuel cells in 2013. 

One of Verizon‘s many solar installations:

Verizon solar

When the 25 MW is installed, Verizon will lead the telecommunications industry and be among the top 10 US corporations for solar capacity. Its goal is to cut carbon intensity (carbon emissions produced per terabyte of data flowing through its US and global networks) in half by 2020.

Besides reducing carbon emissions, Verizon points to solar’s ability to reduce strains on commercial power grids and improve resiliency of services, especially during power outages – all of which improves shareholder value.

Rather than purchasing the energy or signing lease agreements, Verizon owns the on-site solar and fuel cell systems. SunPower is designing and installing rooftop, ground-mounted and parking canopy solar systems that vary based on the site.

The company – the largest wireless carrier
in the US – is also working with DOE’s National Renewable Energy Lab energy efficiency, energy management and smart grid technologies; and is developing smart grid offerings, such as cloud-based meter data management for the utility industry and smart phone controls on home appliances. 

Its industry is among the most energy intensive – consuming 3% of US electricity and about 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the International Telecommunications Union. Because of industry growth, emissions could rise to a 4% share if it doesn’t vastly increase efficiency by 2020, says the Green Touch.

Green Touch

A consortium of leading companies, academic and non-profits formed Green Touch to "fundamentally transform communications and data networks, including the Internet, and significantly reducing the carbon footprint of ICT devices, platforms and networks."

In other words, they plan to overhaul the industry for energy efficiency. Its goal: by 2015, deliver the architecture, specifications and technologies – and demonstrate key components – needed to increase network energy efficiency by a factor of 1000 compared to 2010 levels.

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