The sun shines in on New York’s community solar power deal

31 May 2023 by Oliver Haines
blog author

​​AT&T has joined forces with DSD Renewables for a five-project community solar portfolio in Upstate New York.

The telecommunications firm, one of the largest corporate buyers of renewable energy in the country, will serve as an anchor tenant subscriber, offtaking 15.5 megawatts (MW) of the larger 24.1MW portfolio.

An anchor tenant is any community solar subscriber with a significant annual spend on electricity. Anchor tenants subscribe to community solar farms under contract for the lifetime of that project, which is around 20 years.

The range of investments is expected to generate 17.4 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of clean energy annually, generating enough energy to power more than 2,000 homes every year and offset the equivalent of 12,331 metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Sustainability commitments

AT&T has committed to being carbon neutral across its entire global operations by 2035 and the new agreement paves the way for the firm’s next step into community solar.

The move will support New York’s renewable energy initiatives, reduce energy costs and help provide accessible renewable energy programs to local communities. AT&T’s subscription to these five projects is forecast to offset approximately 61 percent of energy use per year.

AT&T’s community solar advisor NRG assisted in the selection of DSD based on its community solar expertise and advanced project development status. DSD Renewables is backed by world-leading financial partners such as BlackRock Real Assets and aims to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy resources for a more sustainable future.
Sarah Moon, Senior Director of Community Solar at DSD, said: “These projects offer a socially conscious and innovative way for large corporations like AT&T to reduce their carbon footprint while making a positive impact in the communities where they operate.

“By continuing to support community solar programs, we’re able to help create cost-effective solutions that benefit big corporations and residents alike, providing clean, affordable energy to local communities.”

Shannon Thomas Carroll, AVP of Global Environmental Sustainability at AT&T, said: “We strongly believe that corporations can play a key role in helping power the communities they serve, and this agreement is one way for AT&T to do just that.

“By working together with developers like DSD, we’re able to explore solutions outside of on-site renewables that can help us reduce environmental impacts while also supporting local communities by making solar programs more accessible. It’s a win-win for AT&T and the people we serve.”

Oliver Haines, Senior Consultant – Renewable Energy & Energy Storage, at Acre USA, said: “Seeing initiatives like this by AT&T and DSD happening is another very clear sign of major organizations seriously buying into decarbonization targets. These projects are a win-win for everybody; major companies get to reduce their carbon footprint, affordable electricity is created through new solar programs, and trust is built between consumers and companies.

“These projects also serve as an education opportunity firsthand, by making them more prevalent in the US and giving the general public a chance to better understand where their energy could come from and the positive environmental impact they bring.

“My expectation is that this trend of commercial solar will continue, as we are seeing a massive incline with not just major retailers but also real estate institutions looking to add clean, on-site energy solutions to their property portfolios.”

The community solar sites are situated in Cortland, East Syracuse, Medina, Utica, and Swan Lake. Four are already under construction and the final project is expected to begin later in the year.


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