Bank of America signed 10 agreements to purchase solar electricity for its operations in three states, including North Carolina, home to the company’s headquarters, partnering with Duke Energy, NRG Energy, 3Degrees, NativeEnergy and Birdseye Renewable Energy to get it done.
“These unique projects and partnerships build on our achievement of carbon neutrality and expand our renewable energy commitment. By driving more clean energy solutions in our facilities, we are developing a broader sustainable energy ecosystem to help transform our operations and the communities where our employees work and live,” said Andrew Plepler, global head of Environmental, Social and Governance at Bank of America. “These partnerships bring to the forefront creative thinking and innovative solutions to address a changing climate and clean energy access.”
The agreements total 200 megawatts (MWAC) of new solar electricity capacity and will supply over 340,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of Green-e-certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) annually, which meets 100% of Bank of America’s annual electricity use in the Carolinas and the majority in Texas. Representing nearly 21% of the bank’s U.S. electricity use, the solar projects will cover hundreds of acres and include hundreds of thousands of solar panels.
What’s cool about the deals
For one, these offsite solar projects are located in low-to-moderate-income communities. Additionally, many of the projects have a unique feature of pollinator habitats with vegetation and plantings to support local biodiversity and agriculture. Other benefits of these pollinator habitats include:
• Increased habitat for endangered and non-endangered pollinator species.
• Critical habitat creation along pollinator migratory routes/corridors.
• Increased habitat and forage for other non-pollinator species.
• Reduced erosion and improved water quality.
• Potential for improved pollination of regional agricultural crops.
These renewable energy generation deals will benefit the company’s operations and expand Bank of America’s commitment to reduce its operational impacts on the environment, including being carbon neutral and utilizing 100% percent renewable electricity across its global operations.
Through a renewable energy-sleeved power purchase agreement (PPA), the company is participating in Duke Energy’s Green Source Advantage (GSA) program. The bank is the first company and financial institution to sign a 10-year agreement for electricity and Green-e-certified renewable energy certificates (RECs) through this program. The purchase of a 25-megawatt (MWAC)solar project’s electricity output and RECs will cover 45% of Bank of America’s electricity load in the state.
This project will be constructed in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The project will include the installation of a pollinator habitat surrounding 70,000 solar panels, covering approximately 180 acres; and is expected to be online in 2022.
Silver Pine Energy, a joint venture between Silver Creek Energy and North Carolina developer Pine Gate Renewables, will oversee the development of the project and support the engineering, procurement and construction services.
Bank of America also partnered with 3Degrees to purchase RECs for 10 years to help make possible the development of four additional solar projects in the eastern part of the state. Pine Gate Renewables is developing the projects. The counties of Harnett, Columbus, Nash and Johnston will benefit from these projects, with solar energy added to the grid and pollinator habitats that will increase biodiversity in these communities. The total annual MWh output from the 3Degrees projects are expected to produce 33,000 MWh/year.
In partnership with Reliant, an NRG Energy company, Bank of America has announced a 10-year structured renewable energy agreement for solar power in Texas. The project will provide electricity through the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region to 345 facilities, which include office sites, financial centers and ATMs. Bank of America will receive both electricity and Green-e-certified RECs.
The agreement will supply 160,000 MWh of electricity to Bank of America’s Texas operations annually. The project will be located in west central Texas and is expected to be operational in mid-2022. In the interim, the company’s Texas facilities will receive electricity and Green-e-certified RECs from other renewable energy projects contracted by NRG.
Through partnerships with NativeEnergy and Birdseye Renewable Energy, Bank of America will expand its renewable energy commitment in South Carolina by signing three 10-year agreements for four new solar projects. Through the company’s financial support by purchasing project-related RECs, the Yemassee, Denmark, Blackville and Dillon communities gain additional clean energy on the grid.
NativeEnergy represents three of the projects. These projects are expected to be completed by year-end.
• Yemassee will host a 10 MWAC facility, with over 35,000 solar panels on 126 acres.
• Denmark will host a 6 MWAC facility, with over 20,000 solar panels on 45 acres.
• Blackville will host a 7.2 MWAC facility, with over 25,000 solar panels on 60 acres.
Each project has a unique feature ‒ pollinator habitats with vegetation and plantings to support local biodiversity and agriculture.
Birdseye Renewable Energy is the developer of the Dillon project, which includes 75 acres and over 30,000 solar panels with 10 MWAC of renewable energy. The REC agreement is for 10 years and the project will be completed in mid-to-late 2021.
The project also includes a strong biodiversity commitment. In addition to the installation of pollinator habitat, the location will have permeable fencing for small mammal access to an array area as a habitat and forage resource. There will be a low-growing clover mix in the solar array beneath the panels, and taller plant species in designated areas outside the array to support local pollinator populations. All of these efforts will help maintain a sustainable ecosystem and environment in this community.
— Solar Builder magazine