Amazon, Dominion partner on massive Virginia solar farms

WASHINGTON — Amazon intends to power its massive, global network of data centers with 100 percent renewable energy, and an extended partnership with Dominion Virginia Power’s parent company, will put it one big step closer to that goal.

Amazon Web Services will buy the power produced by two of the largest solar farms in the mid-Atlantic that Dominion will develop, as well as several others Dominion will own in five Virginia counties. Amazon Web Services will purchase the power generated through Dominion subsidiary Dominion Energy Inc.

The new solar facilities will enter service in late 2017.

Dominion will add a total of 180 megawatts of solar generating capacity as part of the expanded partnership. It will expand the output of Dominion’s eight-state solar fleet to 1,400 megawatts, including 434 megawatts in Virginia and North Carolina.

Dominion also says it intends to bring at least 500 megawatts of solar generating capacity in the two states online by 2020.

Late last month, an 80-megawatt solar facility in Accomack County, the largest operating solar farm in the mid-Atlantic region, entered service.

Dominion also is acquiring four 20-megawatt projects from Virginia Solar LLC and will develop those facilities in Buckingham, New Kent, Powhatan and Sussex counties for Amazon Web Services.

Dominion is also acquiring a 100-megawatt development from Community Energy Solar that it will develop in Southampton County.

The 260 megawatts of solar capacity Dominion is developing with its Amazon partnership will generate the equivalent of enough electricity to power 65,000 homes and businesses.

Amazon Web Services is on track to exceed its goal of 40 percent renewable energy usage by the end of this year, and has set a new goal to be powered by 50 percent renewable energy by the end of 2017.

“By enabling 10 utility scale renewable projects in the U.S. to date, we are well-positioned to meet our latest goal of 50 percent renewable energy powering the AWS global infrastructure by the end of 2017,” said Peter DeSantis, vice president of infrastructure for AWS.

“That said, we are nowhere near done. We will continue to make progress toward 100 percent and have many exciting initiative planned,” he said.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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