Google and EDPR have signed a framework agreement to support the buildout of more than 80 distributed energy projects, with an initial focus on the PJM interconnection area, which stretches from New Jersey to Ohio. The initial projects will be built in Ohio, where Google operates a data center campus and a cloud region. The deal marks the largest corporate sponsorship of distributed solar development in the US and will be supported by Google’s purchase of novel renewable energy credits (RECs), under the ImpactREC program. The initiative, which was developed through collaborative efforts between Google and EDPR over the past two years, is focused on enabling low-to-moderate income (LMI) communities to efficiently transition to cleaner sources of energy. Under the current deal, at least 10% of the portfolio’s revenues will be redirected annually for up to 15 years as utility bill credits to more than 25,000 LMI households facing a high energy burden.
Google has identified that up to 15% of US homes face weatherization and infrastructure issues that result in higher direct utility bills, which ultimately lead to inefficient consumption of green energy. These homes do not qualify for government-funded or utility-supported efficiency upgrade programs since they have not completed costly “pre-weatherization projects”, such as asbestos removal and fixing of leaky roofs. Google seeks to close the pre-weatherization gap for underserved communities, helping to foster an equitable energy transition. The ImpactREC program is a key lever of these efforts, enabling LMI communities located in jurisdictions that currently lack supportive legislation to avail the full economic benefits of community solar. The credits that Google will purchase under the program are linked to covenants certifying direct community investment and LMI benefits. Additionally, Google is introducing a $12mn Community Investment Fund - in partnership with EDPR - in select geographies to help complete pre-weatherization projects for participating households.
The above analysis is proprietary to Enerdatics’ energy analytics team, based on the current understanding of the available data. The information is subject to change and should not be taken to constitute professional advice or a recommendation.