Technology giant Microsoft has entered into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Apex Clean Energy, a US renewable energy company, for the acquisition of electricity from the Wheatsborough solar project in Ohio. The project, with a total power generation capacity of 125MW, is currently under construction and expected to be commissioned in the first half of 2025.
Initially intended to contribute to the local electricity grid in Ohio, the collaboration with Microsoft indicates a shift towards utilizing the electricity to power Microsoft facilities, although specific details were not disclosed. Apex Clean Energy CEO Ken Young emphasized the importance of developing reliable and sustainable renewable energy projects while prioritizing equitable deployment for a broader positive impact.
This partnership follows the Microsoft-Volt Energy Utility Environmental Justice Framework, established in 2021. The framework guides PPA deals to ensure benefits for local communities and the environment.
A notable aspect of the agreement is the commitment to invest a percentage of the revenue generated by the PPA into the Sharing the Power Foundation, with an additional $125,000 allocated to the Apex Conservation Grant Program for wildlife conservation.
The move aligns with the growing emphasis on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles in the solar sector. Increasing attention is being directed toward the ethical considerations of solar manufacturers' supply chains and production processes. The Solar Stewardship Initiative's updated ESG standard for European solar companies and projects like Microsoft and Volt's in the US contribute to advancing these principles in the solar market.