150 MW Solar To Power Microsoft’s Arizona Datacenters

First Solar To Supply Solar Power From 150 MW Sun Streams 2 PV Facility With Series 6 Panels To Microsoft’s Upcoming Arizona Datacenters Under 20-Year Deal
06:16 AM (Beijing Time) - 01. August 2019

Microsoft said its renewable energy partnerships now add up to 1.5 GW including the deal with First Solar for a 150 MW solar facility to power its Arizona data centers. (Photo Credit: First Solar, Inc.)

Key Takeaways

  • Microsoft has signed an agreement with First Solar to supply clean power for its newly announced datacenters in Arizona
  • Three data centers in El Mirage and Goodyear will be powered by 100% renewable energy
  • First Solar will develop and construct the 150 MW Sun Streams 2 PV facility using its Series 6 modules to power these datacenters
  • The project is likely to enter construction in late 2019 and be commissioned in 2021

Technology giant Microsoft will build new datacenters in Arizona that will be powered by solar energy generated from Series 6 solar modules of First Solar, Inc. The 150 MW AC Sun Streams 2 PV solar plant that will generate clean power for the datacenters is being developed and constructed by First Solar in Maricopa County.

The 20-year deal will see First Solar supply clean solar power to energize Microsoft’s datacentres in Goodyear and El Mirage that Microsoft aims to be designed as powered by 100% renewable energy. The Associated Press reports these will be 3 data centers, 2 in Goodyear and another one in El Mirage. All three will be powered by renewable energy.

Construction on the First Solar power plant is expected to begin in late-2019 and will be online in 2021. First Solar is currently expanding its manufacturing capacity with an approximate investment of $1 billion to meet the demand for its new Series 6 modules with its second facility in the US that’s expected to come online in early 2020 (see First Solar Q1/2019 Net Sales Drop By $159 Million). Once the new Perrysburg, Ohio facility is operational, First Solar says it will become the largest solar module manufacturer in America as well as the western hemisphere.

First Solar claims its Series 6 CdTe thin-film modules have an up to 6 times lower carbon footprint than conventionally-manufactured crystalline silicon PV panels. On completion, the Sun Streams 2 project will displace 190,000 metric tons (MT) of CO2 annually, lead to more than $12.5 million in avoided healthcare costs annually with air quality benefits, generate close to 500 construction jobs and increase tax revenues to support local schools. According to First Solar’s estimates, the power generated from Sun Streams 2 will save as much as 356 million litres of water annually compared to traditional power generation.

Microsoft said First Solar’s high-tech fabs are enabled by its technologies and Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

In March 2019, Microsoft signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with Invenergy for the  74 MW Wilkinson Solar Energy Center in North Carolina. A year back in March 2018, it signed a mega solar deal to buy power from a 315 MW solar plant in Virginia. With the First Solar agreement for Sun Streams 2, Microsoft says it has renewable energy partnerships totalling nearly 1.5 GW.

However, Microsoft is not on the list of the top 10 US corporate solar buyers list released by the Solar Energy Industries Association recently – that honour goes to its competitor Apple (see Apple Tops US Corporate Solar Buyers List).

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani