Big Tech Fueling Change in Solar Industry

Big Tech is Fueling Change in the Solar Industry

As major consumers of electricity, tech companies are helping fuel demand and change across the solar industry. A lot of this power goes into cooling huge data servers (globally, data centers consume about 1% of electricity produced, according to the International Energy Agency1). But the vast size of some companies, such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and others, is helping fuel change across the electrical grid.

 

The appetite for sustainable energy has been fueled by some of the largest tech companies. In 2019, the amount of clean energy purchased by these companies tripled in two years. Google, leading the pack, purchased about 2,700 megawatts in a single year.2 Here are a few ways in which big tech is influencing the solar industry today.

 

Power Purchase Agreements

 

Power purchase agreements (PPAs) made up about 10% of renewal energy investments around the world in 2019. Most PPAs have been made in North America, but the trend has been increasing in Latin America and Europe. A single agreement can be worth anywhere from $20 billion to $30 billion.2 In some cases, corporate buyers are investing in enough clean energy to rival the value of the world’s largest utilities.

 

A Growing Appetite for Investment

 

By 2019, the number of organizations setting climate targets had expanded to close to 400, while 63 big businesses committed to meet all their energy demand with renewable sources. Over the next decade, Bloomberg NEF predicts nearly $100 billion in clean energy investments. The global impact could mean 105 gigawatts of new solar and wind power plants built and serving a range of electricity consumers.2

 

The Drive to Achieve Zero Emissions

Big tech companies have taken big strides to tackle the climate challenge. As they’ve become green, the shear influence of this organization has sped up the transformation of electricity systems around the world. Some of the biggest influencers have been:

 

  • Google: The company signed its first wholesale clean energy deal in 2010 and has pledged to run every data center on carbon-free electricity by 2030. Since its founding in 1998, the company has offset all of its historical emissions.3

 

  • Amazon: While Amazon set a goal to achieve net-zero emissions by 2040, it plans to power its operations with renewable energy by 2025. The challenges are far greater than other companies, as, in addition to data centers, fulfillment centers and delivery trucks contribute to power consumption (clean power deals covered 42% of this in 2019). It has also invested $2 billion in start ups to help other companies cut back their emissions.3

 

  • Facebook: Ranks third in global clean power purchases, while electricity usage at the company quadrupled from 2015 to 2019. It has committed to making its data centers more energy efficient. By 2030, Facebook plans to achieve net-zero emissions across its entire supply chain.3

 

Other large tech firms have been catalysts for change as well. Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030, which means removing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than is produced. It has also invested $1 billion in developing new climate technologies. Apple, which plans to cut emissions 75% by 2030 and use carbon removal technologies to address remaining emissions, now uses renewable energy to power all of its operations.3

 

Investing in Solar Pays Off

While you may not have the resources to invest in solar like big tech companies do, Sunworks USA can help your home or business eliminate reliance on fossil fuels. We provide custom solar solutions and manage the process from start to finish. In addition to helping cut your energy costs, we offer a 25-year warranty that has your system covered. To learn more or get a free quote, contact us online or call 866-600-6800.

 

Sources:
  1. https://www.iea.org/commentaries/5-ways-big-tech-could-have-big-impacts-on-clean-energy-transitions
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/28/google-tech-giants-spark-record-rise-in-sales-of-renewable-energy
  3. https://www.ft.com/content/0c69d4a4-2626-418d-813c-7337b8d5110d