Microsoft has purchased 85MW of solar energy from Engie as part of a broader agreement covering 230MW of clean energy generated by the developer's Texas operations.
The solar energy will be produced at Engie’s 200MW Anson solar centre in central Texas, estimated to come online in January 2021. The remainder of the deal's energy will be procured from the developer’s 200MW Las Lomas wind project in south Texas.
The length of the “long-term” power purchase agreement (PPA) has not been disclosed.
The partners hope that an “innovative volume firming agreement” (VFA) incorporated into the deal will set an example to industry as a procurement solution that makes PPAs less risky for buyers. According to a joint statement, the VFA “will convert the intermittent renewable energy supply into a fixed 24/7 power solution aligned with Microsoft’s energy needs.”
The PPA will bring the software giant's renewable energy portfolio to 1.9GW, according to the release.
A report published in September by Wood Mackenzie and the Solar Energies Industry Association said Microsoft was at the forefront of a boom of corporate solar procurement activity in the US. Seventeen percent of utility-scale capacity announced US-wide so far in 2019 were offsite corporate projects, according to the report.
Engie has pre-existing relationship with the tech firm. Its plant data management platform, Darwin, relies on Microsoft’s cloud services.
US solar prospects amid PPA uptake and a changing policy landscape will take centre stage at Solar Media's Solar & Storage Finance USA, to be held in New York on 29-30 October 2019