On March 7, 2018 Fifth Third Bancorp achieved an epic milestone. With a single solar power purchase agreement (PPA), the financial institution became the first Fortune 500 Company—and the first bank—to commit to procuring 100% renewable energy from a single project.
Located in Hertford County, North Carolina, the 80 MW Aulander Holloman solar project will produce 194,000 megawatt hours of clean energy per year (or equal to Fifth Third’s total yearly electricity footprint). That amount of energy is equivalent to powering 22,000 homes or eliminating 144,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
Fifth Third began exploring PPAs with Schneider Electric in 2016. After a rigorous request for proposal (RFP) process that engaged 65+ decision makers within the Bank, SunEnergy1’s Aulander Holloman project was selected based on its location, economics, and community benefits.
Estimated to be operational in 2019, the solar facility spans an impressive 1,250 acres and includes approximately 390,000 solar panels. It will employ approximately 1,000 people through construction, enable nearly $200 million in infrastructure investment for North Carolina, as well as increase tax revenues.
“This project proves that sustainability isn’t just good for the environment; it’s also good for business . Fifth Third is committed to ‘doing well by doing good’,” says Fifth Third Chairman, President and CEO Greg Carmichael.
The bank first announced their landmark achievement on its 160-year business anniversary at NASDAQ’s opening bell with a confetti-filled ceremony. In addition to celebrating being the first publicly traded company worldwide to commit to buying 100% solar power through one project, it was also admitted to the RE100.
Weeks later, on March 26, Fifth Third held a groundbreaking ceremony at the project site and made financial donations to Hertford Country Public Schools and NC Green Power. These grants will promote educational sustainability initiatives and future solar projects.
“We don’t think the significance can be overstated. We want to be an environmental sustainability leader, and this project demonstrates that 100% renewable power is achievable,” says Fifth Third Director of Environmental Sustainability Scott Hassell.
The Aulander Holloman solar project puts Fifth Third three years ahead of its 100% renewables goal.
To learn more about achieving (and celebrating) your renewable energy targets, read this blog, Renewable Energy PPAs in the Financial Services Sector, or contact us here.