Fifth Third Makes History by Powering Up 100% Renewable Solar Facility

Sep 6, 2019 2:55 PM ET
Blog

Today officially marked the opening of Fifth Third Bank's Aulander Holloman Solar Facility in Hertford County, North Carolina. Built by solar developer SunEnergy1, the facility is expected to generate clean power that is more than or equal to the amount Fifth Third uses in a year, enough to eliminate 143,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases and power 25,000 homes.   

The Aulander Holloman Solar Facility was developed as a result of the virtual power purchase agreement (PPA) Fifth Third announced in March 2018. The agreement was designed to get Fifth Third to 100% renewable power, one of its five bold goals for environmental sustainability to be met by 2022. Fifth Third is now set to achieve that goal three years ahead of schedule.

“We are extremely proud to be the first Fortune 500 Company to power up a single, solar project that will achieve 100% renewable power,” said Greg D. Carmichael, chairman, president & CEO, Fifth Third Bancorp.

“This is another example of our commitment to improving lives and doing what’s best for our communities and planet—today and into the future. This project enables us to contribute positively to the economy of one of our key market states in a way that strengthens Fifth Third Bank’s performance and reaffirms for our stakeholders that we ‘do well by doing good.’”

The PPA facilitated the construction of the solar field by guaranteeing a fixed price for the electricity it generates, thereby enabling SunEnergy1 to secure funding and begin construction. The electricity generated by the facility is expected to be an amount equal to or more than the amount Fifth Third uses in one year and will be resold at market rates into the local electricity grid. Fifth Third will retire the renewable energy credits (RECs) from the project and achieve 100% renewable energy.

“Fifth Third is making history,” said Amy Davidsen, Executive Director – North America, The Climate Group, which runs the global RE100 initiative for influential companies committed to 100% renewable electricity. “They were the first member company to contract for 100% solar power and are demonstrating that renewables make business sense. By adding clean power to America’s electricity grid, they’re accelerating a cleaner future for us all – and leading the way for other companies to follow suit.”

The Aulander Holloman Solar Facility is one of the largest solar projects in the United States. The system includes more than 350,000 solar panels using single-axis tracking systems and more than 2,000 inverters and related subsystems. It is rated at 80 MW AC, which measures how much power the project can send to the electric power grid at any given time. The facility consists of roughly 120 MW DC of solar panels enabling the project to generate approximately 202,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity per year. The panels were installed over 1,400 acres in Hertford County, North Carolina, one of Fifth Third’s key market states. The solar facility enables benefits beyond the environment. SunEnergy1 employed approximately 1,000 workers during construction and contributed tens of millions of dollars to the tax base in Hertford County, resulting in additional tax revenue to the county. 

“Fifth Third is a prime example of what can be accomplished when corporations make ambitious commitments to clean energy,” said Miranda Ballentine, chief executive officer of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA).

“Fifth Third is poised to achieve its goal to purchase 100% renewable power three years ahead of schedule. The Aulander Holloman Solar Facility was made possible through the team’s collaborative approach to power purchase agreements and will lead to the generation of a significant amount of clean power. REBA is thrilled that Fifth Third Bank—which has also achieved its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2022—is a part of its membership and is driving towards our vision of a prosperous, zero-carbon energy future."

Fifth Third was assisted in the selection and execution of the power purchase agreement by Schneider Electric’s Energy & Sustainability Services.

Visit 53.com to learn more about how Sustainability can be done “a Fifth Third better.”