Duke Energy to supply solar power for Google’s North Carolina server farm

27 Nov 2015


Google said it would offset the huge amounts of electricity it needed to run its North Carolina server farm with solar power under a new programme that allows corporations to voluntarily pay more for renewable energy.

According to the tech giant, it would buy the power from Charlotte-based Duke Energy, which will buy the same from a new Rutherford County solar farm. A Google spokeswoman did not say how much of the electricity used by the company's Caldwell County server farm would be offset by the 61 megawatt solar project.

According to Duke, Google was the first to use a new programme allowing its large customers to buy renewable energy from the utility.

Duke Energy also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which would be paid on 16 December. Shareholders of record on Friday, 13 November would be paid a dividend of $0.825 per share, representing a $3.30 dividend on an annualised basis as also a dividend yield of 4.85 per cent. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, 10th November.

In one of the largest solar projects undertaken in North Carolina, Google will benefit from Duke Energy Carolinas' Green Source Rider programme meeting a portion of the power demand from the company's data center in Lenoir with solar energy.

A 61-megawatt solar project will be constructed in Rutherford County in Duke Energy Carolinas' service territory. Under a power purchase agreement with the Rutherford Farms LLC solar project, Duke Energy will secure power to meet new energy demand from Google's expanded data center.

"Google was a driver behind Duke Energy seeking approval for the Green Source Rider," said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources.
"Having Google as the first company to publicly announce its participation is extremely satisfying. We believe this will lead to similar announcements in the future."

Enrollment in the Green Source Rider means Google will use renewable energy sources for a portion of the energy supplied to its expanded data center in the city of Lenoir. Under the programme, Duke Energy and Google agreed on the specific project and additional costs associated with energy from the facility. Other Duke Energy customers will not pay for the project.

"We've agreed to purchase 1.2 gigawatts of renewable power globally and we're working to power 100 per cent of our operations with renewables. As we pursue that goal, this is a really big moment for us and we're thrilled to have created this programme with Duke Energy," said Gary Demasi, Google's head of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy. "Not only does it enable us to purchase renewable energy for our North Carolina operations, it will empower others in the state to do the same."

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