Today (June 10) Amazon announced that it will support the construction of an 80 megawatt solar farm in Accomak County, Va., the largest for the state and one of the largest solar farms in the eastern U.S. The announcement comes as Amazon has faced increased pressure from Greenpeace, customers and advocates asking the online sales giant to explain its plans to green its energy source as other tech companies like Google, Facebook and Apple have been doing.
The move follows one earlier this year when Amazon announced it would support he construction of a 150 megawatt wind farm in Indiana and use the electricity from the project to power is data centers. The company anticipates that both projects will come online rapidly. The wind farm is expected to go online by the end of 2015 and the solar farm is slated for completion in October 2016.
The project is being developed by Community Energy. is a pioneer in developing renewable energy with a long history in solar and wind energy. “We are pleased to work with Amazon Web Services to build the largest solar farm in Virginia and one of the largest east of the Mississippi,” said Community CEO Brent Alderfer. “This project, which wouldn’t have been possible without AWS’ leadership, helps accelerate the commercialization and deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies at scale in Virginia.”
“Amazon’s new solar project will create good jobs on the Eastern Shore and generate more clean, renewable energy to fuel the new Virginia economy,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
While Amazon Web Services announced its plans to source 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in November 2014, the company and its parent did not offer many details at the time. That led to criticism from Greenpeace and others. The tech giant has also fallen behind companies like Apple, which already sources 100 percent of its datacenter power from renewables and is increasingly upping the amount of solar it is sourcing power from, like the 40 megawatts of solar it has in North Carolina.
With today’s announcement, Amazon said its web services division is already sourcing 25 percent of it energy from renewable energy. By the end of 2016 the company plans to increase that to 60 percent by the end of 2016.
“We continue to make significant progress towards our long-term commitment to power the global AWS infrastructure with 100 percent renewable energy,” said Jerry Hunter, Vice President of Infrastructure at Amazon Web Services. “Amazon Solar Farm US East—the second PPA that will serve both existing and planned AWS datacenters in the central and eastern US—has the added benefit of working to increase the availability of renewable energy in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”Tweet