Five Companies You’ve Definitely Heard of Join Up to Buy Solar Energy in Aggregation Deal

Bloomberg, Cox Enterprises, Gap Inc., Salesforce and Workday team up to buy 42.5-MW of solar energy from a 100-MW project in North Carolina. 

It’s hard to find a common thread between the business models of Gap, Bloomberg, Cox, Salesforce and Workday but today they are announcing that they all have one big thing in common: their desire to clean up their organizations’ energy supply by using renewable energy.

LevelTen Energy and its renewable energy procurement platform helped these household names close on 42.5 MW of a 100-MW North Carolina solar project, which was developed by BayWa r.e. This group of companies, coming together as the Corporate Renewable Energy Aggregation Group, is one more example of companies aggregating similar, relatively small amounts of renewable energy and collaboratively enter into a virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA).

MIT, Boston Medical Center and Post Office Square Redevelopment Corporation closed on a similar deal in March 2017.

Today’s announcement between five international businesses lays the groundwork for other corporates to procure renewable energy cooperatively, maximizing value and reducing risk, according to the companies.

The five members of the group, with support from the Business Council on Climate Change (BC3) and the Business Renewables Center (BRC), began collaborating in late 2017 and evaluated several mechanisms for aggregating smaller amounts of renewable energy demand to afford them the collective buying power that is typically necessary to contract directly with a large offsite renewable energy project

The solution chosen by the group was a uniform VPPA contract and a single, shared legal counsel to negotiate and finalize the transaction. This helped to further streamline the final phases of the transaction while reducing transaction costs. In a press release, the group said it hopes other buyers see this structure as a viable way to enter the large offsite renewable energy market, helping to accelerate corporate procurement of clean energy and expand renewables deployment in the U.S.

“Cox is no stranger to the renewable energy space,” said Steve Bradley, Assistant Vice President Environmental Sustainability at Cox Enterprises. “We’ve already invested millions of dollars and resources into our goal of being carbon neutral by 2044.”

Chris Samway, Senior Vice President & CFO of Athleta, a B Corp certified subsidiary of Gap said that his company’s share of the project will be used to “offset the energy footprint of all Athleta stores and operations.”

Salesforce, which has a commitment to be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2022, said this is an important step toward reaching that goal.

“Five buyers coming together to procure near equal slices from this project is yet another critical milestone in the expansion of the renewable energy procurement market,” said Bryce Smith, Chief Executive Officer of LevelTen Energy, which helped put the deal together.

Solar power project development and innovative financing structures for renewable energy are always hot topics at POWERGEN. We’re accepting abstracts NOW for the 2019 event, which takes place in New Orleans, November 19-21. Submit your speaking idea today. 
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Jennifer Runyon has been studying and reporting about the world's transition to clean energy since 2007. As editor of the world's largest renewable energy publication, Renewable Energy World, she observed, interviewed experts about, and reported on major clean energy milestones including Germany's explosive growth of solar PV, the formation and development of the U.S. onshore wind industry, the U.K. offshore wind boom, China's solar manufacturing dominance, the rise of energy storage, the changing landscape for utilities and grid operators and much, much, more. Today, in addition to managing content on POWERGRID International, she also serves as the conference advisory committee chair for DISTRIBUTECH, a globally recognized conference for the transmission and distribution industry. You can reach her at

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