Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ:US), the largest U.S. wireless carrier, is investing almost $40 million to triple its use of solar energy this year.
SunPower Corp. will install 10.2 megawatts of solar power at eight Verizon sites in New York, California, Maryland, Massachusetts and New Jersey, the New York-based telecommunications company said today in a statement.
The New York-based company invested $100 million last year for about five megawatts of solar capacity and 10 megawatts of fuel cells that were installed at six sites. The new capacity will give Verizon the most solar-generating capacity of any U.S. telecommunications company, according to the Washington-based trade group Solar Energy Industries Association.
“Solar is a proven technology,” James Gowen, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer, said in an interview. “It didn’t hurt that the technology is getting better and prices are coming down.”
The investment in new rooftop, parking-structure and ground-mounted systems comes as prices for solar panels have plummeted, boosting demand.
Verizon is among the companies seeking to reduce their carbon emissions, an effort that’s driving the decision to add solar power, Howard Wenger, SunPower’s president of regions, said in an interview. It’s also helping them cut their energy costs.
“They’re seeing the benefits of it financially,” Wenger said. “The Fortune 500 companies we talk to like Verizon are really trying to add value for their shareholders and that’s what solar does.”
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