Harnessing the Power of the Sun (Bite-sized CSR)

I live in sunny Phoenix, Arizona – where the high today is 107° Fahrenheit (that’s close to 42°C for the rest of you). It would be an understatement to say that it’s hot outside, and the sun is almost always shining. Tomorrow, June 21, marks the northern hemisphere’s summer solstice; the day we’ll get the most sun all year. And even though I frequently grumble about how hot and sweaty I get just walking from my cubicle to my car, I’m also thankful, because solar power is one of our planet’s most abundant resources.

A bird's eye view of our Folsom, California solar installation

And believe me, this is something that Intel recognizes. Since 2009, we have partnered with third party organizations to complete 18 solar electric installations on nine Intel campuses—in Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Israel and Vietnam—collectively generating more than 10 million kWh per year of clean solar energy. The projects include a 1-megawatt solar field that spans nearly 6 acres of land on Intel’s Folsom, California campus, rooftop installations and solar support structures in Intel parking lots. The project in Vietnam is the country’s largest solar project and has received awards from the Vietnamese government. The renewable energy credits generated by these installations are often transferred to local utilities to support their regulatory obligations and programs.

For the past five years, we’ve also been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  as the largest voluntary purchaser of green power in the U.S. In 2013, Intel has committed to purchasing 3.1 billion kWh, which is enough to meet 100 percent of our U.S. electricity use for the year. This will have the equivalent environmental impact of eliminating the CO2 emissions from the annual electricity use of more than 320,000 U.S. homes.

Our renewable energy efforts are intended to provide leadership, help spur the market, make renewables less expensive and more accessible over the long term and reduce overall carbon emissions from electricity. We have increased our investment levels over the past five years despite the economic downturn because of the projected long-term benefits. So, while I’m sure tomorrow I’ll grumble about the hot sun of the summer solstice beating down on me, at least I know we’re taking steps to harness some of its power.

For more information about Intel’s commitment to environmental sustainability, read our 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report.

This blog is part of our “bite-sized CSR” blog post series, in celebration of our 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report.