From pv magazine USA
McDonald’s has passed the 1 GW mark in terms of global renewable capacity this week, with the signing of three new virtual power purchase agreements (VPPA) – two wind farms and a solar project – for 750 MW of new capacity additions.
A McDonald’s spokesperson said that the company’s share of the two wind farms will have a combined capacity of 327 MW. Its share of the solar project will be 423 MW.
The new VPPAs build on McDonald’s existing 380 MW renewables portfolio, which was first announced in November 2019. Its portfolio consists of the Aviator Wind project and the Samson Solar project, which are both in in Texas. Once completed, McDonald’s will hold a 220 MW share of the Aviator project and a 160 MW portion of the Samson project, bringing its total renewables investment to 1.13 GW, including 547 MW of wind and 583 MW of solar.
However, McDonalds is not the only big corporation to get in on the Samson project. AT&T said in late November that it had signed a 500 MW power purchase agreement for a portion of the behemoth.
The project is expected to go online at some point in 2023. When that happens, the Samson Solar Energy Center will be the largest PV installation in the United States and among the biggest in the world. The rest of the project’s capacity is also contracted under similar corporate purchase agreements with Honda (200 MW), Google (100 MW), Home Depot (50 MW), and the Texan cities of Bryan (150 MW), Denton (75 MW) and Garland (25 MW).
While McDonalds has just recently started to commit itself to renewables, specifically solar, the company has moved to quickly position itself among the world's leaders in corporate solar procurement.
According to the 2019 Solar Means Business report, the top corporations in terms of purchased or owned solar capacity in 2019 were Apple (400 MW), Amazon (370 MW), Walmart (330) MW, Target (285 MW), and Google (245 MW). While these giants are certain to expand their portfolios by the time McDonald’s projects reach commercial operation, the fast food giant’s 583 MW will still likely be among the most of any corporation.
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