AT&T Plans Renewable Energy System for San Ramon Campus
Company Collaborates With SunPower to Host 1-Megawatt Solar Power System
San Ramon, California.-AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) today announced that it is working with SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB), CH2M HILL, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) to install and operate a 1-megawatt solar power system on AT&T’s facility at the Bishop Ranch office park in San Ramon. Scheduled for completion in late 2008, the system was partially funded by incentives provided by PG&E under the California Solar Initiative (CSI). The power produced by the system, which is expected to equal up to 25 percent of peak power and 5.5 percent of the facility’s annual electricity consumption, is equivalent to the electricity required to power more than 165 homes each year.
“Installing this solar power system on our roof reflects AT&T’s commitment to balance the business need for affordable energy with the need to identify solutions that have less impact on the environment in the communities we serve,” said Shawn McKenzie, senior vice president of Corporate Real Estate at AT&T. “This effort will help us learn more about the benefits of renewable energy for our business and allow us to make educated decisions as we pursue future uses of alternative forms of energy.”
The project is being constructed by SunPower, a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems. SunPower will install the SunPower® T10 Solar Roof Tile commercial system, a non-penetrating solar system that tilts at a 10-degree angle to increase energy capture.
The solar system on AT&T’s San Ramon facility, which will include nearly 3,700 solar panels, is expected to generate more than 1.6 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year. It is expected to replace the building’s normal power consumption by more than 4,300 kWh per day.
As an alternative to an outright purchase of the commercial system itself, AT&T will purchase electricity for the facility from an entity in which financier Morgan Stanley owns a major interest in under SunPower Access™, a power purchase agreement program. That entity will own the system as well as the associated renewable energy credits, which it may retire or sell. The electricity will be competitively priced against retail rates, providing AT&T with a long-term hedge against rising peak power prices.
“SunPower Access is an easy, affordable way for leading companies like AT&T to support the use of clean, emission-free solar power,” said Tom Werner, chief executive officer, SunPower. “The high-efficiency SunPower solar system that AT&T will host on its roof will maximize the amount of energy produced within the limited roof space, enhancing both the environmental and financial benefits.”
Edward Levin, vice president of Morgan Stanley, said, “We are glad to maintain our commitment to the clean tech sector by continuing to provide the renewable energy financing solutions in the marketplace.”
State and federal governments play an important role in helping companies like AT&T make investments in alternative energy. California offers incentives for solar projects such as the one at San Ramon through CSI. This program is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission and provides $2.1 billion in rebates and cash incentives on solar systems. The Federal Investment Tax Credit — a credit of up to 30 percent of a project’s cost — is set to expire Dec. 31, 2008. AT&T supports efforts to extend the federal credit, which would serve as a positive incentive to move forward with more widespread deployment of solar panels.
“I want to congratulate everyone who contributed to this forward-looking project around clean, renewable power,” said Sen. Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch). “California should continue providing incentives for companies like AT&T to invest in alternative power sources.”
Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier (D-Martinez) said: “Projects like San Ramon are why the legislature has worked so hard to pass landmark legislation making California the nation’s leader in solar power. By offering financial incentives for solar power projects, we are inviting strong companies like AT&T to make their investments in our state.”
PG&E is the local electric utility provider for AT&T and also a program administrator of the CSI. PG&E has now interconnected 25,000 customer-owned, solar-generating systems to the power grid — representing more than 200 megawatts of electricity — more than any other utility in the nation. PG&E, under the CSI, provided $2.1 million, the maximum incentive for the San Ramon project.
“PG&E is delighted to work with AT&T to facilitate on-site solar generation with this incentive,” said Wendy Pulling, director of Environmental Policy, PG&E. “Since the inception of the California Solar Initiative, PG&E has distributed almost $80 million to program participants, leaving us an additional $880 million to distribute through 2017. Along with energy efficiency, renewables are a critical component of PG&E’s strategy to address climate change, and relationships with our customers are an important part of our program to fight global warming.”
AT&T collaborated with environmental engineering firm CH2M HILL, a leader in the design and implementation of sustainable energy solutions. CH2M HILL determined the initial scope and feasibility of the project and provided guidance during project development and implementation.
“CH2M HILL is committed to helping our clients develop sustainable solutions that respond to global issues like climate change,” said John Hoffner, project manager, CH2M HILL. “We’re proud to build on our commitment by working with a strong partner like AT&T to expand the use of renewable energy in San Ramon.”
AT&T is working to minimize the environmental impact of its operations in a number of ways. AT&T works to enhance energy performance and minimize energy consumption in company buildings, IT systems and networks, and the company is evaluating alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. The company conserves natural resources through waste reduction, recovery and recycling efforts, and it helps its customers do the same. AT&T also helps customers further manage their own environmental impact through intelligent use of AT&T products and services, such as teleconferencing, video conferencing and other broadband applications.
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