Amazon Gets Approval for 80-MW Solar Farm in Virginia

Amazon has secured approval for a 80-megawatt solar farm developed by Community Energy in Accomack County, Virginia, called Amazon Solar Farm US East.

Governor Terry McAuliffe said the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will issue the first Permit By Rule for the project, which will more than quadruple the amount of solar energy currently installed in the Commonwealth. Community Energy is the developer and owner of the solar facility with Amazon committing to a long-term power purchase agreement.

The solar farm is expected to start generating approximately 170,000 megawatt hours of solar power annually as early as October 2016 – or the equivalent of that used by approximately 15,000 US homes1 in a year. Amazon Solar Farm US East will be the largest solar farm in the state of Virginia, with all energy generated delivered into the electrical grids that supply both current and future Amazon Cloud datacenters.

“The partnership between Community Energy and Amazon Web Services, which will result in the largest solar facility in the mid-Atlantic, is indicative of the types of opportunities that my Administration is working toward through our commitment to build a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “The solar energy industry holds tremendous potential for economic growth in Virginia in the coming years, and I look forward to bringing more projects like this to the Commonwealth.”

“This solar project is a first for Virginia and a giant step forward for clean power on the East Coast,” said Brent Alderfer, President of Community Energy. “With this project, Virginia jumps to the lead in attracting the energy industry of the future, with cloud-technology leader Amazon Web Services as the first customer.”

Amazon has a long-term commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy usage for its global Amazon Web Services infrastructure footprint. As of April 2015, AWS announced that approximately 25% of the power consumed by its global infrastructure comes from renewable energy sources with an interim goal of increasing that percentage to at least 40% by the end of 2016.

Amazon has also signed a similar PPA for the Amazon Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge) in Benton County, Indiana, that was announced in January 2015 and is expected to generate approximately 500,000 MWh of wind power annually.

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