Microsoft to power Singapore datacentre services with rooftop solar

Following in Apple's footsteps, Microsoft has purchased 100 percent of the renewable output from Sunseap Group's new 60MW solar project and will use it to power datacentre operations in Singapore.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor
Image: Sunseap

Microsoft has announced the creation of Singapore's "single-largest" solar energy portfolio focused on serving datacentre energy consumption.

Having signed a 20-year agreement with local solar energy system developer, owner, and operator Sunseap Group, the 60 megawatt-peak solar portfolio will span hundreds of rooftops across Singapore, and generate power for datacentre use.

"Our cloud services are helping to power Singapore's digital transformation, and today's agreement will ensure that transformation is increasingly powered by clean energy," Microsoft Singapore managing director Kevin Wo said. "With the agreement, Microsoft will improve the sustainability of our local operations and make important progress toward our corporate sustainability goals for datacentres."

The terms of the agreement see Microsoft purchase 100 percent of the renewable energy from the grid.

The deal is Microsoft's first renewable energy deal in Asia, and its third international clean energy announcement, following two wind deals announced in Ireland and the Netherlands in 2017.

Microsoft hopes to power 50 percent of its global datacentre load with renewable energy this year.

"We see exciting potential in our partnership with Microsoft to raise awareness within the tech industry of the importance of adopting renewable energy solutions," co-founder and director of Sunseap Lawrence Wu said.

Wu believes Microsoft's investment in Singapore solar indicates a growing momentum for clean energy in the country and expects this to further the positive "ripple effect" for organisations in Singapore to incorporate sustainability practices in their businesses.

Similarly, the energy company's vice president of corporate origination and development Dominic Garetto said the contract with Microsoft highlights how environmentally responsible energy buyers can lead Singapore's evolution as a global technology hub while fulfilling their sustainability goals.

"Microsoft also serves as a role model more broadly for leading corporate buyers pursuing clean energy strategies in Asia, and their support on this project inspires our work in Singapore and our operations throughout Asia as we now collaborate with our clients in multiple countries across the region," Garetto added.

Apple signed a similar agreement with Sunseap in November 2015 to tap into renewable energy to fully power its Singapore operations.

Under the arrangement in place since early 2016, Apple's South Asia operations -- supported out of its Singapore outfit -- are powered by renewable energy, leasing 1.1MWp and up to 40GWh-worth of clean energy.

The rooftop solar panels were installed on public-owned buildings, as well as Apple's own facilities, generating 50MW of solar energy. At the time, Apple said it would receive 33MW of capacity generated from this initiative.

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