Microsoft Corp. and Invenergy, a leading U.S.-based, privately held global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions, announced on Wednesday a 74-megawatt solar project in North Carolina, U.S.
Located in Beaufort County, the Wilkinson Solar Energy Facility will be among the largest solar installations in the state with more than 256,620 modules, according to a joint press release from the companies.
"The Wilkinson Solar Energy Center project will be constructed, owned and operated by Invenergy, which has contracted more than 1,600 megawatts supporting corporate renewable customers. Via the 15-year power purchase agreement, Microsoft will become the sole offtaker of the energy generated at the Wilkinson Solar Energy Center," the statement read.
According to the press release, this represents Microsoft's fourth power purchase agreement in the PJM Interconnection, which is a regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in all or parts of 13 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
It will also bring Microsoft's total renewable energy portfolio to more than 1.3 gigawatts.
"When we invest in renewable energy, we are investing in the future — enabling sustainable growth of our business, of the clean energy sector and the local communities that benefit economically from Microsoft’s commitment to sustainability," said Brian Janous, Microsoft's general manager of Energy and Sustainability.
"Our work with companies like Invenergy is an integral step toward our goal of enabling a clean energy future for everyone. We are pleased our partnership will bring new solar resources to the PJM region," he added.
Jim Shield, Invenergy's executive vice president and chief commercial officer, said they are proud to work with leading corporate renewables customers like Microsoft to help them meet their operational and sustainability goals.
"This investment in North Carolina reflects the increasingly compelling value of solar power for customers to meet their energy needs, while also creating economic development opportunities for local communities," he added.
The Wilkinson Solar Energy Center is expected to generate $20 million in local economic investment through tax payments, landowner lease payments, and wages and benefits for employees. It is scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2019 and is estimated to create more than 500 jobs during construction.
North Carolina ranks second in installed solar capacity among U.S. states, according to the press release.
By Hale Turkes