Microsoft is looking to reduce the carbon footprint of its data centers with significant investments in solar energy and its center in Arizona is becoming its example.
With the relatively aggressive goal of having its data centers use up to 70% of renewable energy sources by 2023, Microsoft's sustainability project with its Arizona data center has been a focal point of the company.
We intend to develop our new data center campuses in El Mirage and Goodyear, Arizona to be among the most sustainably designed and operated in the world – powered by 100% renewable energy. Arizona has been increasingly adopting the technology industry with a group of growing talents, an affordable quality of life for employees and up to 200 sunny days a year, making it an ideal place to invest in solar energy.
More specifically, Microsoft is partnering with the Arizona-based Solar Solar company First Solar and collaborating on the Sun Stream 2 photovoltaic (PV) solar plant. Ideally, Microsoft would leverage the 150-megawatt plant to transport the load of each of the company's new data centers in the area. In turn, First Solar obtains the first dibs in Microsoft cloud services and technologies, such as Azure IoT Hub and SQL Data Warehouse, to execute its various business interests.
First Solar joins a growing list of Microsoft partners committed to providing the latest and very best renewable energy sources around. Microsoft renewable energy associations have contributed 1.5 gigawatts of energy to date.
Microsoft is also looking beyond its solar plant association in Arizona to address water conservation and replenishment in the state.
The effort is aimed at increasing Arizona's water recovery capacity and helping the state meet the drought contingency Plan commitments. Microsoft's investment in this project has also generated a one-to-one cash contribution from the Water Funder Initiative that will support state efforts and further expand the impact of the project. The project will benefit the Indian tribes of the Colorado River, which will ultimately result in more water in Lake Mead and more efficient water infrastructure.
Microsoft says that eventually, it would like all its data centers to run on 100% renewable energy and launch a lot of money in Arizona to overload that schedule, for a sum of more than $ 800,000, just last year.
With the company continually expanding its presence in the data center as it provides more cloud services for individuals and businesses, it is nice to see Microsoft considering the environmental toll that cloud computing really presents.
Additional readings: Arizona, Azure, Data Center, First Solar, Microsoft, SQL, Sun Stream 2