Microsoft Installs Silicon Valley’s Largest Solar Panel System at Its Mountain View Campus
April 21, 2006
System offsets electrical demand during peak load, reducing impact on environment.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — April 21, 2006 — Microsoft Corp. is proud to announce the installation of its new solar electric system at the company’s Silicon Valley Campus (SVC). It is the largest of its kind in Silicon Valley. Generating 480kW at peak capacity, this system is composed of 2,288 tiles that will supply enough energy to power nearly 500 homes.

Rolling blackouts are sometimes mandated in Silicon Valley during the summer months when power consumption is at its highest. The system is designed to deliver maximum output when the local energy grid is under the greatest strain.

“Microsoft is committed to being a responsible environmental citizen locally and globally,” said John Matheny, site manager for the SVC and general manager of Microsoft® TV Services at Microsoft. “Implementing the latest practices and technologies to protect the environment is good for the community and good for our business.”

Maintaining an environmentally friendly campus has always been a priority for Microsoft’s SVC. During the SVC construction phases, Microsoft consulted with the architect on ways to create a “green” design. Some of the initial design features that were implemented include the use of recycled materials in building finishes, drought-tolerant landscaping, and building management systems to proactively monitor and control energy use.

Since the SVC opened in 1999, it has continued to implement environmentally friendly practices, which include the following:

  • Replacement of high-energy lighting with more efficient lighting

  • Reduction of hours of operation for heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and full lighting

  • Adjustment of set points and efficient operation of HVAC systems

  • Reduction of parking lot ground cover landscaping to reduce irrigation requirements

  • Modification of water timing to improve water effectiveness

  • Continually monitor heating and cooling systems so that they at maximum efficiency

“I commend Microsoft for being a leader in embracing solar energy and reducing its reliance on traditional energy sources,” said Nick Galiotto, mayor of Mountain View. “Microsoft is reducing its environmental footprint while helping with our critical energy needs during the summer months.”

The Solar Electric System

The 480kW solar electric system from PowerLight Corp. of Berkeley, Calif., consists of high-efficiency solar modules that convert sunlight directly into electricity. This solar electric system spares the environment from tons of thousands of harmful emissions such as CO2, NOx and SOx, which are major contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming.

“We were delighted to have worked with Microsoft on its electric solar system,” said Dan Shugar, president of PowerLight. “Microsoft is effectively lowering operating costs, reducing purchases of expensive peak electricity, and improving the health and quality of life in California through its Silicon Valley Campus solar power program.”

Microsoft’s Overall Environmental Efforts

The SVC’s newly installed solar electric system is emblematic of the company’s recently established environmental initiatives. Microsoft’s most recent initiative is the elimination of PVC from Microsoft packaging.

  • Recycling and conservation. Microsoft has an extensive recycling and conservation program at its corporate headquarters that reduces waste, and conserves resources at all the company’s facilities, recycling a daily average of 24 tons of material. The company also recycles old PCs, monitors, servers and other surplus hardware. In addition, Microsoft participates in programs throughout the world that refurbish thousands of PCs every year and donate them to schools and nongovernmental organizations.

  • Employee transit. Microsoft encourages its employees to take action in their daily lives through car-pooling programs and alternative commuting choices. At many campuses, the company offers public transportation passes to its employees and assists with the arranging of van and car pools. One of the most popular days at the SVC is the “bike to work day,” when employees are encouraged to pedal their way to the office.

  • Environmental design. Software and hardware products are designed to comply with worldwide environmental regulations. Microsoft does not use heavy metals, such as lead or cadmium, in packaging for any of its products, and the company restricts the use of toxic substances in its manufacturing operations as well.

  • Vendor requirements. As a global company manufacturing all over the world, Microsoft requires that all vendors abide by the applicable environmental laws and follow good environmental practices that reflect the spirit of those laws.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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