Verizon to install 10.2 MW of solar throughout US

Verizon said Monday that it would install 10.2 MW of solar power systems this year at eight of its network facilities in five states, including California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

The move is part of a nearly $40 million investment to expand the on-site green energy program the company launched last year. The investment will nearly double the amount of renewable power generated by solar energy systems installed at six Verizon facilities in 2013.

Verizon has invested nearly $140 million in on-site green energy to date, according to the company. With its newly announced 2014 investment, the group is on target to deploy upward of 25 MW of solar energy this year.

"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."

Verizon is now on track to become the No. 1 solar-power producer among all U.S. communications companies, according to the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

"Based on its existing solar power capacity and on-site generating systems, combined with its new solar energy expansion plans for 2014, it’s clear that Verizon is on a path to become the solar-power leader in the U.S. telecom industry," said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. "In fact, we project that Verizon will be among the top 20 of all companies nationwide in terms of the number of solar installations it operates, and one of the top 10 companies in the U.S. based on solar generating capacity."

Verizon has tapped SunPower Corp. to design and install all of the solar systems. The new equipment, consisting of high-efficiency rooftop, parking-structure and ground-mounted solar PV systems, will vary from site to site.

Last year, the company exceeded its 10 MW green-energy target and currently has 14.2 MW of on-site green energy deployed using a combination of fuel cells and solar power systems. An early adopter of fuel cell technologies, Verizon invested in one of the largest fuel cell sites of its kind in 2005, helping to power a call-switching center and office building in Garden City, New York. Verizon also uses 26 solar-assisted cell sites in remote areas in the western United States to help power a portion of the nation’s largest wireless network.

In addition to various solar and fuel cell installations at Verizon Data Centers, the company said it has also implemented better cooling efficiency and energy-consumption reduction measures in its data centers. In 2009, Verizon developed new standards for energy consumption on select telecom equipment, with a target of 20% greater efficiency.

Verizon is aiming to cut the carbon emissions produced per terabyte of data flowing through Verizon’s global wired and domestic wireless networks in half by 2020.