Project Development, Solar, Wind Power

Largest Solar Farm in Virginia Just Commissioned by Amazon Web Services

Back in 2012, Amazon received a failing grade from Greenpeace regarding its use of renewable energy to power its cloud centers. Skip a couple years and in 2014 Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure. An announcement today puts it further down the path toward that goal.

AWS announced that it has teamed with Community Energy to support the construction and operation of an 80-MW solar farm in Accomack County, Virginia, which will be named the Amazon Solar Farm US East. The new solar farm is expected to start generating approximately 170,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of solar power annually as early as October 2016.

Amazon Solar Farm US East will be the largest solar farm in the state of Virginia, with all energy generated delivered into the electrical grids that supply both current and future AWS Cloud datacenters.

As of April 2015, AWS global infrastructure was using approximately 25 percent renewable energy and the company announced an interim goal of increasing that percentage to at least 40 percent by the end of 2016. The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for Amazon Solar Farm US East follows a similar PPA for Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) in Benton County, Indiana, that was announced in January 2015. Fowler Ridge made RenewableEnergyWorld.com’s Top 10 Biggest Wind Farms in 2010. Both represent key steps toward meeting these goals.

“We continue to make significant progress towards our long-term commitment to power the global AWS infrastructure with 100 percent renewable energy,” said Jerry Hunter, Vice President of Infrastructure at Amazon Web Services. “Amazon Solar Farm US East — the second PPA that will serve both existing and planned AWS datacenters in the central and eastern US — has the added benefit of working to increase the availability of renewable energy in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe commented, “Amazon’s new solar project will create good jobs on the Eastern Shore and generate more clean, renewable energy to fuel the new Virginia economy. I look forward to working with Amazon and Accomack to get this project online as we continue our efforts to make Virginia a global leader in the renewable energy sector.”

Lead image: Virginia Map. Credit: Shutterstock.