Microsoft has announced that it will buy power from two new solar power projects, which will be developed, owned and operated by sPower in Virginia. The Pleinmont 1 and 2 projects will comprise over 750,000 PV modules with a capacity of 315 MW, as part of a larger 500 MW multi-site project.
The 500 MW project will not only be the largest in Virginia, but will nearly double the state’s installed solar capacity. This is the software giant’s second project in Virginia, following a deal with a 20 MW project two years ago.
The deal will get Microsoft to 1.2 GW of contracted power globally. The software company says that the project will move it ahead of schedule in “creating a cleaner cloud”, a nod to the very heavy electricity use by data centers.
Like other leading tech companies, Microsoft has a goal to source all of its power from renewable energy. Through the use of renewable energy credits (RECs), the company has been able to offset 100% of its consumption since 2014.
However, now Microsoft is moving away from RECs towards power contracts with renewable energy assets. The software maker says that it has met its target to power at least half of its data centers through these contracts by 2018, and that this deal marks the next step towards its goal of reaching 60% by 2020.