Amazon building 80 MW solar farm in Virginia, U.S.

U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon has revealed that it is to invest $150 million in the construction and operation of a new 80 MW solar farm in the U.S. state of Virginia.

The company will enlist the services of Community Energy Inc. to construct the plant, which is scheduled to come online in October next year. Once complete, the installation will generate enough clean energy to power 15,000 local households.

Late last year Amazon announced its intention to achieve 100% renewable status within a decade, and has recently hit 25% globally, according to the company. An interim goal is to be 40% renewable by the end of 2016.

Despite these goals, the company has come into criticism recently. Greenpeace disclosed a letter from 19 leading clients of Amazon who had called for the company to publicly disclose how its cloud-computing data centers are powered. Greenpeace had previously attacked Amazon for its lack of transparency, comparing the company unfavorably against other giants such as Apple and IBM.

Amazon has since revealed that it is making efforts to lower its data centers’ energy footprint.

“We continue to make significant progress towards our long-term commitment to power the global Amazon infrastructure with 100% renewable energy,” said Amazon VP of infrastructure Jerry Hunter.

This 80 MW plant will be constructed on a 1,000 acre site in Accomack County, becoming the largest solar park in Virginia and one of the largest in the Eastern U.S.

Community Energy CEO Brent Alderfer said: "This project, which wouldn’t have been possible without AWS’ leadership, helps accelerate the commercialization and deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies at scale in Virginia."