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October 01, 2008

AT&T Plans Energy System at San Ramon Campus



AT&T is working with SunPower Corporation, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, CH2M HILL (News - Alert), and Morgan Stanley to install a 1-megawatt solar power system on AT&T’s facility at the Bishop Ranch office park in San Ramon.
 
The system, scheduled for completion in late 2008, was partially funded by incentives provided by PG&E under the California Solar Initiative (CSI).
 
“Installing this solar power system on our roof reflects AT&T’s (News - Alert) commitment to balance the business need for affordable energy with the need to identify solutions that have less impact on the environment in the communities we serve,” said Shawn McKenzie, senior vice president of corporate real estate at AT&T. “This effort will help us learn more about the benefits of renewable energy for our business and allow us to make educated decisions as we pursue future uses of alternative forms of energy.”
 
The power produced by the system, expected to equal up to 25 percent of peak power, is equivalent to the electricity required to power more than 165 homes a year. SunPower, a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of solar systems, will install its T10 Solar Roof Tile commercial system, which tilts at a 10-degree angle to increase energy capture.
 
The system, which includes nearly 3,700 attractive, black solar panels, is expected to generate more than 1.6 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year and replace the building’s normal power consumption by more than 4,300 kWh per day.
 
AT&T will purchase electricity for the facility from an entity in which financier Morgan Stanley owns a major interest in under SunPower Access, a power purchase agreement program. That entity will own the system as well as the associated renewable energy credits. The electricity will be competitively priced against retail rates, providing AT&T with a long-term hedge against rising peak power prices.
 
“SunPower Access is an easy, affordable way for leading companies like AT&T to support the use of clean, emission-free solar power,” said Tom Werner, chief executive officer, SunPower. “The high-efficiency SunPower solar system that AT&T will host on its roof will maximize the amount of energy produced within the limited roof space, enhancing both the environmental and financial benefits.”
 
Edward Levin, vice president of Morgan Stanley, says they are glad to maintain their commitment to the clean tech sector by providing such renewable energy financing solutions. This program is overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which provides $2.1 billion in rebates and cash incentives on solar systems, and was also given a federal investment tax credit.
 
“I want to congratulate everyone who contributed to this forward-looking project around clean, renewable power,” said Sen. Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch). “California should continue providing incentives for companies like AT&T to invest in alternative power sources.”
 
AT&T worked with environmental engineering firm CH2M HILL, a Denver, Colo.-based provider of design and implementation of sustainable energy solutions. San Francisco-based PG&E (News - Alert), the local electric company, worked under the CSI to provide $2.1 million, the maximum incentive for the project.
 
“PG&E is delighted to work with AT&T to facilitate on-site solar generation with this incentive,” said Wendy Pulling, director of Environmental Policy, PG&E. “Since the inception of the California Solar Initiative, PG&E has distributed almost $80 million to program participants, leaving us an additional $880 million to distribute through 2017. Along with energy efficiency, renewables are a critical component of PG&E’s strategy to address climate change, and relationships with our customers are an important part of our program to fight global warming.”
 
AT&T works to enhance energy performance and minimize energy consumption in company buildings, IT systems and networks and is evaluating alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power. AT&T also helps customers further manage their own environmental impact through the use of AT&T products and services, such as teleconferencing, video conferencing and other broadband applications. More information is available at: http://www.att.com.

Eve Sullivan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Eve's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Eve Sullivan

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