Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) has announced a contract with Cherry Street Energy, a non-utility provider of solar energy in Georgia, to build and operate a solar power microgrid at Porsches corporate headquarters One Porsche Drive.
Energy from these solar panels will provide a significant portion of annual electricity needs. It will also mean the all-electric Taycan sports cars that are part of the visitor fleet can be charged from renewable power. The solar power project will contribute to PCNA’s sustainability goals as the campus adds new facilities. One Porsche Drive is currently undergoing a $50 million development that includes building a second driver development track for the public, due to be operational in early 2023.
Microgrid technology holds significant potential to provide stable and reliable energy to the power industry and can create more flexibility to optimize power sources and energy uses, which is driving growth in the market, according to a report from Research and Markets.
The global microgrid market is expected to grow at more than 16% through 2026 and be valued at $40.3 billion, up from $19 billion in 2021. That growth is attributed to a growing demand for reliable electricity, declining prices for microgrid technology, grids that are becoming unstable, and a lack of grid connectivity in many developing countries, according to the report.
Microgrids can store up self-generated energy — that is, energy being produced from a distributed energy resource — and redeploy it during those more expensive demand times, saving owners significant amounts on their electricity bills. Porsche expects the new microgrid to both save money and contribute “to the overall sustainability targets of Porsche AG,” says Kjell Gruner, president and CEO of PCNA.
Cherry Street Energy estimates the array of solar panels on the headquarters campus will generate 2,050 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity annually. Compared to using fossil fuel sources, this renewable electricity represents an estimated CO2 reduction of 3.2 million pounds per year.
Installation of the solar microgrid will start in September and is expected to be completed in 2023, kicking off a 25-year operating agreement between PCNA and Cherry Street Energy. Panels will be mounted on new and existing buildings, the roofs of staging areas by the two tracks where customers start their drives, and on a new 950-foot covered walkway from the parking garage to the headquarters building. Cherry Street Energy will own, operate, and maintain the microgrid, selling the power to PCNA. Through this direct transaction, Cherry Street Energy will provide stabilized energy rates and generate measurable reductions in carbon emissions for Porsche.
Last year, Porsche also began requiring its nearly 1,300 suppliers to use renewable energy to manufacture its vehicle components. Porsche aims to be carbon neutral in its supply chain by 2030.