Monday, January 25, 2010

Intel Plans Massive Solar Installations

Intel Corp. on Monday said it will install 2.5 megawatts of solar electric systems at its campuses in four states, including its 5,500-employee campus in Folsom.

The Santa Clara-based chip-maker (Nasdaq: INTC) said the new installations will be completed over the next seven months and will be used to help power Intel campuses in California, Oregon, Arizona and New Mexico.

Intel expects to break ground on the 1.1-megawatt solar project in Folsom at the end of March and have the project producing power by the end of June, Intel spokesman Mark Pettinger said. The design has been approved internally and the project awaits permit approval from the city of Folsom.

The solar arrays would cover almost six acres on the southwest portion of the Intel Folsom campus, next to a concrete pad Intel poured nine years ago for what was to be its fifth building. When the tech bubble popped in 2001, Intel halted construction of the building.

Pettinger said the solar-power system may be partly visible from Highway 50 once it's built. Solar City would build the solar-panel system at the Folsom campus, which would produce about 40 percent of Intel's solar power, Pettinger said.

To put the investment in perspective, a megawatt of solar energy can power between 150 and 200 homes, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. That means Intel's 2.5 megawatts could power between 375 and 500 average-size homes.

Intel also said it would increase its purchase of renewable energy credits by 10 percent to 1.43 billion kilowatt hours, or the equivalent of 51 percent of its 2010 electricity use.

Renewable energy credits are tradeable commodities that represent 1 megawatt of renewable energy placed on the power grid. Acquiring RECs, as they’re called, is a way for corporations to certify that they are acquiring energy on the market from renewable resources.

Intel ranked at the top of the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s latest “Green Power Partners” list released Monday. The list, released quarterly, ranks the top 50 organizations for acquiring green power resources.

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