Hewlett-Packard has snagged some kudos from the Uptime Institute for a solar power project in San Diego that is expected to go online in August. It actually got an award from Uptime for "Green IT Beyond the Data Center," as well as overall IT Strategy. Here's more deets.
I first wrote about the project with SunPower late last year. At the time, the company estimated it would save about $750,000 in energy costs over the 15-year period of the agreement. (Aside from the solar investment at its office campus, HP also negotiated a deal with SunPower under which its employees can use a service to have solar installed in their own homes. They can earn a $2,000 rebate from SunPower by using certain dealers, which will be matched by HP.)
I discussed the progress of the campus project this afternoon with Anne Feldhusen, manager for the HP Green Business Technology Initiative, and Kevin Cowen, project manager with real estate and workplace services for groupware technology.
The first unique element of this solar installation (at least when it comes to IT companies) is the fact that HP didn't actually pay for it upfront nor does it plan to lease the equipment. Instead, it worked out a power purchase agreement with SunPower over a 15-year time period and negotiated certain rate considerations over that time period, reports Feldhusen. The panels will supply roughly 12 percent of the campus's electricity needs. "We will start saving money on day one," she says.
The roughly 3-foot by 5-foot solar panels will cover about 65 percent of the 305,000-square-foot roofline at HP's San Diego campus. But they won't actually be permanently affixed, which is another unusual aspect of the project, according to Cowen. HP need to ensure roof-top access for certain ducts and venting systems. When necessary, the panels can actually be moved around on their rubber feet. Because of this, the panels actually are designed like the airfoil you'd find on a sports car: any wind will act to push the panel flatter to the roof, so that it stays in place.
Construction is supposed to kick off on May 7m and the panels are supposed to be operational in mid-August.