Verizon's $100M investment in off-grid resiliency

Verizon's $100 million clean power project aims to do more than cut carbon emissions and boost its green street cred.
Written by Kirsten Korosec, Contributor

Verizon has upped its commitment to clean power with a $100 million investment to install solar panels and fuel cells to help power 19 of its U.S. facilities.

The clean energy generated by the project, the largest investment by the telecom giant to date, will be used to power a variety of Verizon buildings, including corporate offices, call centers and data centers.

Verizon says its investment aims to cut its carbon intensity, which is carbon emissions produced per terabyte of data flowing through its networks-- in half by 2020.

Boosting its sustainability street cred isn't the company's only motivation. The projects will also provide some off-the-grid resiliency to help maintain services even during outages, said Verizon.

Fuel cells have already helped Verizon keep the lights on. Verizon operates one of the largest fuel cell sites of its kind to help power a call-switching center and office building in Garden City, New York. Chief Sustainability Officer James Gowen told Gigaom in a recent interview, the fuel cell installation powering the switching station never went down during superstorm Sandy.

The company also uses 26 solar-assisted cell sites in remote areas in the western United States to help power the network.

When the clean power project is completed next year it will allow Verizon to generate more than 70 million kilowatt hours of its own energy--enough to power more than 6,000 single-family homes a year.

The solar panels will be provided by SunPower under a multi-year contract with Verizon. ClearEdge Power, a maker of scalable, distributed power systems, will install 400 fuel cell systems at Verizon sites in California, New Jersey and New York.

Photo of fuel cell rendering from Verizon

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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