Intel Sees The Light With Solar Power

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor for eWEEK and contributor to TechWeekEurope

Intel is continuing to flash its green credentials after announcing plans to install solar panels at eight locations in order to generate about 2.5 megawatts of renewable power

Intel is to increase the amount of renewable energy it consumes, after the chip giant was named the top purchaser of green energy in the USA, by the EPA.

Intel is installing new solar panels at eight locations throughout the Western United States that will generate about 2.5 megawatts of power.

All eight solar power installations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Oregon will be online within the next seven months, according to Intel officials.

The new installations are part of a broader initiative by Intel to increase its use of alternative energy sources, such as wind, geothermal and biomass, and reduce its carbon footprint.

The company also is investing in “cleantech” businesses.

“Intel is committed to renewable energy to reduce our own carbon footprint as well as to spur the market and make renewables more economically feasible for individuals and businesses to deploy,” Brian Krzanich, vice president and general manager of manufacturing and supply chain for Intel, said in a statement.

All but one of the eight installations will have solar panels on the roofs of buildings. At the Folsom, California, site, the panels will be clustered into a 1-megawatt solar field that will cover almost 6 acres of land on the Intel campus.

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The company kicked off its conservation program in 2001, and has since saved more than 650 million kilowatt hours worldwide.

Intel’s announcement 25 January came at the same time that it was named by the Environmental Protection Agency as the No. 1 voluntary buyer of green power, buying more than 1.4 billion kilowatt hours.

Other technology companies also made it onto the EPA’s Green Power Partnership top 50 list. Dell was No. 6, with more than 431 million kilowatt hours of green energy purchased.

Cisco Systems was ranked eighth, Sprint Nextel was 40th, Sony was 44th, Motorola 46th and Advanced Micro Devices 48th.

In addition to spending more than $30 million (£18.5 million) since 2001 on its own renewable energy projects, Intel Capital – the chip maker’s investment arm – has invested more than $125 million (£77 million) in more than a dozen cleantech companies, including $10 million (£6.1 million) in five companies in July 2009.