Commercial, Solar - November 19, 2020
Microsoft pursues innovative new RE credits that bring solar power to Africa
Microsoft announced Nov. 19 the execution of the first-ever Peace Renewable Energy Credit (P-REC) transaction, which will aid the development of a new 1.3 MW solar-plus-storage project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
The software giant collaborated with Energy Peace Partners and the project developer Nuru, a company aiming to increase the renewable energy connectivity in the African country, on this agreement.
Microsoft agreed to purchase P-RECs issued from the new solar project, and those funds will directly finance the installation of streetlights in a recently electrified neighborhood of Goma. These streetlights are connected to the same solar-plus-storage system that generates the electricity for the P-RECs.
“With P-RECs, companies like Microsoft that are looking to procure renewable energy can invest in regions that are the most impacted by climate change and that are currently deprived of access to modern energy,” Vanessa Miler, Director of Energy Innovation and Impact at Microsoft, said in a statement. “Companies can maximize the impact of their investments not only from a carbon reduction perspective but also from a climate equity perspective.”
The transaction was facilitated by 3Degrees featuring P-RECs, which are a form of international renewable energy credits that include a supplementary label from Energy Peace Partners certifying the co-benefits of the new renewable energy generation.
In general, such projects are meant to create social and economic value in regions that have high risk of conflict, high vulnerability to climate change, low levels of electrification, and limited access to renewable energy finance. Only 3% of residents in Goma have access to electricity and the purchase of these P-RECs will fund the installation of mini-grid-connected streetlights.