The telecom industry uses a lot of power. With cell sites located throughout the country, and vast amounts of data continuously flowing through the network, it makes sense that companies are looking to find ways to save money on energy. Solar has begun to fill this role as costs have declined. Additionally, many cell sites are ideally located for onsite solar to help offset their energy consumption.
Verizon is taking advantage of this, having already heavily invested in clean energy. Work has now begun on the installation of a new PV system to provide power to Verizon’s Long Island headquarters complex in Garden City. The new solar project will place more than 7,000 SunPower solar panels (2.2 MW of capacity) on the roof of Verizon’s building, which already generates 6,000 MWh of green energy annually from a fuel-cell system built in 2005.
The Garden City solar project is expected to be completed and operational by the end of this year. It is one of Verizon’s many onsite green energy projects in the New York City area. Verizon already has fuel cells at five New York City telecommunications-switching locations (one each in Staten Island and Queens, and three in Brooklyn) and at a data center in Elmsford in Westchester County. Altogether, Verizon has invested more than $60 million in green energy in New York.
Upon completion of the new Garden City solar project, Verizon will operate more than 6.7 MW of green energy systems in the state. The combined fuel cell and solar energy systems will produce more than 40,000 MWh of clean energy annually. Verizon’s total clean energy efforts in New York are expected to offset more than 4,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, or the equivalent of powering more than 3,000 homes.
“From the investments we make in our networks, to the philanthropic and nonprofits we support, to strategically smart on-site green energy projects such as this one in Garden City and elsewhere, Verizon is improving the quality of life in the communities we serve in New York,” said Leecia Eve, vice president of state government affairs for Verizon New York. “Verizon’s investments in, and commitment to, New York are helping to position the state to compete and to continue to move forward economically.”
Even before this installation, Verizon was the Number 1 solar power producer among all U.S. communications companies, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. This installation will further cement the company’s lead.
“Verizon has made significant strides in utilizing solar power to supply its own electricity, including its recent solar investments in New York,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “Based on its existing solar-power systems, combined with its 2014 solar energy investment plans, it’s clear that Verizon is on a path to become one of the top 10 companies in the U.S. based on solar generating capacity, and the solar power leader in the U.S. telecom industry.”
To date, Verizon has invested more than $160 million in onsite green energy. Upon completion of its new solar projects, the company is on track to deploy upwards of 25 MW across the United States. All of Verizon’s energy-efficiency strategies support the company’s ultimate goal of cutting its carbon intensity – carbon emissions produced per terabyte of data flowing through Verizon’s global wired and domestic wireless networks – in half by 2020.