Amazon Web Services signs PPAs for 180-MWs of solar across Virginia

Written By: Stratton Report
November 17, 2016


On November 17, Amazon Web Services, Inc. announced five new solar farms across the Commonwealth of Virginia that will bring a total of 180-MW of renewable energy capacity onto the grid before the end of 2017.

Four of these projects will each have a capacity of 20-MW, and will be located in New Kent, Buckingham, Sussex, and Powhatan counties. Amazon Solar Farm US East 6 is a 100-MW facility in Southampton County, Virginia. These five new solar farms join the company’s existing project, Amazon Solar Farm US East, an 80-MW facility in Accomack County, Virginia which is already in production.

Dominion is acquiring the four 20-megawatt projects from Virginia Solar LLC. An EPC contract has been signed with Strata Solar for the projects. The company is also acquiring a 100-megawatt development from Community Energy Solar and will develop it in Southampton County. Signal Energy will serve as the EPC contractor. AWS has signed long-term PPAs between Dominion subsidiary, Dominion Energy, Inc. The solar facilities are expected to enter service in late 2017.

According to Amazon, the six solar farms are expected to generate more than 580,000-MWhs of energy annually, making it the largest corporate backer of solar projects east of the Mississippi River.

Per AWS, the firm continues to make progress toward its long-term goal of powering the AWS Cloud with 100 percent renewable energy. It expects to exceed its 2016 goal of 40 percent renewable energy by the end of this year and set a new, near-term goal to be powered by 50 percent renewable energy by the end of 2017.

Peter DeSantis, Vice President, Infrastructure, AWS remarked:

“We continue to ramp our sustainability efforts in areas where availability of renewable energy sources is low or proposed projects are stalled, and where the energy contribution goes onto the same electric grid that powers AWS data centers. By enabling 10 utility scale renewable projects in the US to date, we are well positioned to meet our latest goal of 50 percent renewable energy powering the AWS global infrastructure by the end of 2017. That said, we are nowhere near done. We will continue to make progress toward our 100 percent goal and have many exciting initiatives planned.”

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe noted: “Solar energy is a central part of the comprehensive renewable energy approach Virginia needs to keep costs low for businesses, families, and taxpayers as we build a new Virginia economy. I applaud Dominion and Amazon for collaborating in a way that will benefit our economy, our energy mix and our environment. We will continue to support collaborations and innovative approaches to bring low-cost, renewable energy to all corners of the Commonwealth.”

Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Dominion observed: “The expansion of Dominion’s alliance with Amazon is great for Dominion, AWS, and the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said “It helps meet AWS’s renewable needs, it expands Virginia’s clean electric generation fleet, and it creates economic development opportunities in largely rural communities.”