Ohio-based Fifth Third Bank has become the first Fortune 500 company, the first bank, and the first RE100 member to achieve its goal of securing 100% of its power consumption with renewables in a single Power Purchase Agreement from a single project.
Announced on Wednesday, Fifth Third Bank, a regional financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, announced that not only was it joining 100% renewable energy initiative RE100, but that it would achieve its goal by the end of the year with a single Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) from a single power project — an 80 megawatt (MW) solar project in North Carolina being developed by SunEnergy1 which will eventually generate approximately 194,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity each year.
The move makes Fifth Third Bank not only the first RE100 member to achieve this goal, but the first Fortune 500 company and the first bank, and also the first publicly-traded company to commit to purchase 100% renewable energy through solar power alone.
“This initiative affirms our bold commitment to advance environmental stewardship on behalf of customers, employees and shareholders,” said Greg Carmichael, chairman, president & CEO, Fifth Third Bancorp. “This innovative project will reduce Fifth Third’s carbon footprint and benefit the communities we serve. In addition, this project is expected to increase earnings, demonstrating that companies can ‘do well by doing good.”
“We applaud Fifth Third for joining RE100 and for becoming the first member company to contract for 100% solar power,” added Amy Davidsen, Executive Director – North America, The Climate Group. “By achieving its 100% renewable energy goal four years early, Fifth Third is demonstrating that there is a strong business case for solar, that corporate leadership on renewables is accelerating, and that faster greenhouse gas emissions cuts are possible – this will inspire more companies to follow suit.”
The $200 million solar project, which is being built and will be owned by SunEnergy1, will employ around 1,000 people during the construction phase, and avoid 144,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually. That’s the equivalent of emissions generated by more than 21,600 homes or 30,800 cars.
“SunEnergy1 pioneered the concept of corporate and institutional power purchase agreements for solar power,” explained Kenny Habul, SunEnergy1 CEO.
“This is the first time that we have seen a corporation move to 100% clean power by purchasing all of the output from one project. When complete later this year, the Hertford County Aulander Holloman facility will be one of the largest solar projects in the US; it will provide an important economic investment in North Carolina; and it will lead to a meaningful and measurable difference in carbon emissions. The Earth is our vehicle through time so we congratulate Fifth Third for showing that companies can cut their emissions and improve the health of our environment today through solar power. We urge corporate America to stand up and join the 100% club.”