Wells Fargo will power its 400 Texas locations with solar

Oct 17, 2019 06:46 PM ET
Wells Fargo has signed a 10-year structured power purchase agreement (PPA) with Reliant, an NRG Energy, to power the bank’s 400 Texas locations with PV solar.

The new agreement is the bank’s largest contract to date in support of its corporate strategy to advance the development of new sources of renewable energy in order to meet its electricity needs. The new agreement will provide approximately 62,000 MWh of solar energy annually to approximately 400 Wells Fargo properties from a new utility-scale solar facility in Texas.

“Wells Fargo is focused on continuing to demonstrate leadership in the transition to a low carbon economy,” said Richard Henderson, head of Wells Fargo’s Corporate Properties Group. “Transitioning from the purchase of renewable energy certificates to long-term contracts that fund new sources of renewable energy is a critical piece of Wells Fargo’s 2020 renewable energy goal. Through structured retail transactions…we can continue to minimize our impact on the environment while supporting the communities where we work and live.”

The NRG Renewable Select plan will provide 100% of the bank’s total annual requirements in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region and 3% of the company’s national load. The Texas solar system is expected to break ground in 2020 and begin delivering clean energy to the grid in 2021.

The NRG agreement is the first significant transaction under Wells Fargo’s strategy to contract with renewable energy providers geographically close to its load centers. In this case, by greening the mix of energy sources flowing into the ERCOT grid, the Wells Fargo/NRG transaction helps reduce overall carbon emissions and support resiliency efforts in the region. Wells Fargo is pursuing similar agreements across the United States as part of its long-term energy strategy.

“We are pleased to work with Wells Fargo on achieving the next step in their sustainability strategy,” said Robert Gaudette, senior VP of business solutions at NRG. “Agreements using innovative retail products like this one reflect NRG’s commitment to a low-carbon energy future by supporting by both renewable developers in the market and the growing demand for clean energy by customers like Wells Fargo.”

Expanding On-Site Solar

As part of its 2020 renewable energy goal, Wells Fargo also will expand its on-site renewables portfolio by installing solar technologies on more than 100 corporate, branch and data facilities across the U.S. The company currently maintains solar arrays on 16 properties.

“Maximizing our on-site solar generation is a simple way to help reach our renewable energy goal while enhancing the value of our significant real estate portfolio,” Henderson said. “It’s a tangible demonstration of our corporate citizenship in the communities where we do business.”

Financing Renewable Energy

Wells Fargo has experience financing wind, solar and other renewable energy projects. The company made its first tax equity commitment in 2006; since then, it has provided more than $7.5 billion of tax equity financing to customers in support of more than 400 projects.

In 2018, Wells Fargo made a $200 billion sustainable finance commitment through 2030, with at least 50% going toward renewable energy and clean technology projects. In its first year, the company deployed $23 billion in sustainable finance, with 63% going toward low-carbon solutions such as renewable energy, green buildings and clean technologies.

Achieving Renewable Energy Goals

Wells Fargo has been meeting its global electricity requirements with renewable energy and energy products since 2017, primarily through the purchase of renewable energy certificates, which satisfied the first part of a two-pronged 2020 renewable energy goal set in 2016. The company is now working to fulfill the second part of that commitment — to transition to a higher mix of long-term electricity contracts and significantly increase deployment of on-site generation in order to support the development of net-new sources of renewable energy by 2020.

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