In 2019, Anthem, Inc. made the commitment to invest in and source 100 percent renewable energy by 2025. Now, as a key step in that strategy, Anthem has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with SunEnergy1, a U.S. solar developer, owner and operator of utility-scale solar projects. The agreement is for the output from a new 182-acre, 20-megawatt solar field located in Hanover County, Virginia.
The Hanover County solar field is nearly complete and expected to be fully operational later this year. Combined with an additional solar field in North Carolina coming online in early 2021, Anthem will have supported the development of more than 1,000 acres of solar panels that will generate more than 225,000-megawatt hours of electricity per year.
The Virginia and North Carolina solar field locations were selected based on Anthem’s significant office and data center footprint in the grid zone that includes both states. Anthem expects the solar field developments to generate enough renewable electricity to power all Anthem offices and data centers across the country.
“As we enter Climate Week, we’re celebrating an important step forward in achieving our renewable energy goal and are proud that Virginia is playing a large role as we increasingly focus on improving the sustainability of our operations and our business,” said Jeff Ricketts, president, Anthem Blue and Blue Shield in Virginia. “By addressing environmental health, we can improve lives and the health of communities in our state and across the country and set the example for others to follow.”
The Virginia Clean Economy Act gets some credit here too. Signed into law earlier this year, it is one of the most sweeping clean energy laws in the country, promoting energy efficiency, setting a schedule for closing old fossil fuel power plants, and requiring electricity to come from 100 percent renewable sources such as solar or wind.
“Today’s announcement is one important step to achieving our goal of 100 percent renewable energy,” said Ricketts. “We know there is much work to do in the future and our hope is we can continue to impact change and set an example for the entire healthcare industry.”
— Solar Builder magazine