Verizon has announced it will 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 company estimates the completed project will generate more than 70 million kilowatt of clean energy, which would be enough to power more than 6,000 single-family homes a year. This amount of clean, solar power prevents the emission of more than 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is enough to offset the annual CO2 emissions from more than 1 million gallons of gas.
The fuel cell and solar products will be installed at several Verizon buildings, including corporate offices, call centers, data centers and central offices. The project is part of the company’s plan to cut in half by 2020 its carbon intensity, that is, carbon emissions produced per terabyte of data flowing through its networks.
“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 will work with ClearEdge Power, a manufacturer of scalable, distributed power systems, to install PureCell Model 400 fuel cell systems at its sites in California, New Jersey and New York. 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 at Verizon facilities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Arizona and North Carolina. The systems, which will generate approximately 8 million kilowatt hours 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.
An early adopter of fuel cell technologies, Verizon currently operates one of the largest fuel cell sites of its kind to power a call-switching center and office building in Garden City (NY). The company also uses 26 solar-assisted cell sites in remote areas in the western United States to help power the portion of the nation’s largest and most reliable wireless network serving those areas.
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.