Solar news: March 8th, 2019

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, Microsoft announces another investment in solar energy, and Vivint Solar begins a new partnership with Home Depot.

Microsoft signs a 74 megawatt solar PPA

Continuing the recent trend of large tech companies investing in renewable energy, Microsoft recently signed a 74 megawatt (MW) solar power purchase agreement (PPA) for the energy that will be produced by the Wilkinson Solar Energy Center in North Carolina. The facility is set to be completed and turned on in 2019 and create more than 500 jobs during its construction. With the addition of this new PPA, Microsoft’s renewable energy portfolio will eclipse 1.3 gigawatts (GW).

“When we invest in renewable energy, we are investing in the future – enabling sustainable growth of our business, of the clean energy sector and the local communities that benefit economically from Microsoft’s commitment to sustainability,” said Brian Janous, Microsoft’s general manager of Energy and Sustainability.

The solar farm will be constructed by Invenergy, and is expected to include more than 256,620 solar modules. Invenergy (a U.S.-based firm), will also own and operate the farm after completion.

Vivint Solar and Home Depot enter sales partnership

Nationwide solar company Vivint Solar announced that it will be rolling out a sales presence in over 200 Home Depot stores in eight states by the end of June. Those states are Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Hampshire, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Virginia.

“Millions of shoppers visit The Home Depot actively seeking ways to improve their homes, and Vivint Solar does just that through simple and affordable home power solutions,” said Vivint Solar CEO David Bywater. “As solar gains consumer attention, our in-store team is there to provide helpful guidance and assist shoppers hoping to learn if their home is a good solar candidate and see how much they could save on utilities.”

This isn’t the first time a large solar company has partnered with Home Depot in an on-floor sales role. Tesla/SolarCity had kiosks in almost 800 Home Depot stores until last summer, when they ended that relationship. And in addition to Vivint, Sunrun also announced a partnership with Home Depot to enter stores in 15 states. These movements by the nation’s largest solar companies could signal a shift in industry sales tactics away from direct-to-home and telemarketing and more towards education and integration with the home improvement market.

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About Jacob Marsh

Jacob is an EnergySage writer with expertise in solar, electrification, and renewable energy. With over five years of experience researching and writing about the home energy industry (plus a degree in Geological Sciences from Tufts University), he brings a unique scientific approach to writing and investigating all things energy.