On October 16, 2009, SAS, a leader in business analytics software and services, announced that they would partner with groSolar and FLS Energy to develop a second solar farm on the company’s North Carolina headquarters campus. The project should be coming online within the next few months and is slated to add 1.2 megawatts of capacity, which, in addition to SAS’s first solar farm (which came online December 17, 2008, and was designed by SunPower and installed by Southern Energy Management), would bring total capacity to 2.2 megawatts. The incremental addition would generate approximately 1.9 million kWh/year, enough to power more than 200 homes. Progress Energy would then purchase the generated energy for the public energy grid to go towards satisfying their regulatory requirements.
Under North Carolina law, 3.5 percent of energy sales must come from renewable sources by 2012, ultimately increasing to 12.5 percent by 2021. As a result, utilities such as Duke Energy and Progress Energy have been relatively active in renewable investments over the past couple of years. For example, Duke Energy entered into an agreement in 2008 to purchase the electricity produced by a 21.5 megawatt solar farm in Davidson, NC. As a renewable energy source, solar power falls under these guidelines and fortunately for utilities, they can purchase up to 25% of their SREC requirements from out-of-state as the SREC market opens up in North Carolina this summer.
The two solar farms combined would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 3,500 tons annually, the equivalent of burning 367,000 gallons of gasoline. With the imposition of both federal and state incentives/regulations, companies are increasingly turning to solar power, as it reduces their carbon footprint, while at the same time making economic sense. Going green no longer equates to doing so at a loss, and SAS is a prime example of a company that values both environmental stewardship and corporate profitability.