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Amazon plans five solar projects to power cloud data centres

Mon 21 Nov 2016

Amazon has completed a deal to create five new solar power farms to help power AWS cloud data centers. The new facilities are expected to bring the total power generated by Amazon solar farms to over 580,000 megawatt hours per year and contributing to Amazon’s stated goal to power AWS cloud services solely with sustainable energy.

The five new solar projects will double the number of Amazon’s ventures in sustainable energy such as solar and wind power.The company has also been active in other efforts including improvements to energy efficiency that have been implemented company-wide. Amazon believes that these efforts combined will result in at least 50% of Amazon Web Services being powered using only sustainable energy by the end of 2017.

The combined solar capacity of the Amazon-Dominion farms will produce enough energy to power 65,000 regular homes and businesses. That power will be applied to the AWS cloud data centers in their efforts to use only sustainable energy.

Energy efficiency and sustainability are one of the factors that AWS uses to help move clients toward adoption of cloud services. The AWS sustainability website notes that by moving to an efficient cloud data center operated on sustainable energy, businesses can expect to reduce their power needs by up to 84%, and their carbon footprint by 88%.

The solar farms will be constructed by Dominion, one of the largest owners and operators of solar power in the U.S. The plants are scheduled for completion next year.

The new projects will bring Dominion’s total solar output to 1,400 megawatts. The construction will be financed through a long-term power purchase agreements between Dominion Energy, a subsidiary of Dominion Inc., and Amazon Web Services. Dominion said that it expects the new projects to qualify for the federal Investment Tax Credit as well.

Peter DeSantis, VP of Infrastructure at AWS, is confident that the additional solar farms will help the company reach their sustainability goals. “By enabling 10 utility scale renewable projects in the US to date, we are well positioned to meet our latest goal of 50 percent renewable energy powering the AWS global infrastructure by the end of 2017. That said, we are nowhere near done. We will continue to make progress toward our 100 percent goal and have many exciting initiatives planned,” he said.


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