On Aug. 15, 2022, Porsche North America announced it had agreed to a 25-year partnership with Cherry Street Energy (CSE) to develop and maintain a solar microgrid at its Atlanta, GA, headquarters. CSE is continuing the trend of getting America’s cities and company headquarters set up on renewable energy generators. It’s estimated that Porsche will pay $50 million for this project.
The announcement coincides with the plans to develop a new Porsche Experience Center at the Atlanta headquarters. Patrons will be able to drive a Porsche around a race track, enjoy a meal or cup of coffee at the center, and shop for merchandise, all while keeping a low carbon footprint.
CSE is the largest non-utility provider of solar energy in the Atlanta area. They have worked tirelessly to get the city linked to a more sustainable grid. Last summer, CSE received a $50 million investment to increase project capacity and hire more employees as it continues to expand. Institutions like Emory University use CSE’s solar energy to power the campus, and now Porsche has entered the fray.
Coupled with the carmaker’s extensive electric vehicle (EV) rollout, Porsche could hit its goal of going carbon neutral by 2030 earlier than anticipated.
The auto manufacturer said these steps were imperative for reaching its sustainability goals. CSE will own and operate the microgrid, then sell the power back to Porsche.
There has been a substantial effort to get Atlanta’s municipal facilities and private companies on the solar standard for some time. The Solarize Atlanta strategy is a long-term plan formed by the city leadership and has been implemented in increments throughout the last decade.
At first, it targeted suburban homes in the area. However, when it became apparent that the buildings were the more significant energy users and, congruently, the biggest wasters, the strategy shifted. So far, Atlanta’s municipal government can boast that facilities like Watershed Management will be hardwired to CSE’s solar array. As of last September, the goal was to install panels at 28 municipal buildings.
Porsche’s microgrid plans follow other carmakers acquiring the sun’s power for their factories and headquarters. Ford said it recently completed the biggest purchase of renewable energy from a utility for its Michigan plant.
Intending to hit carbon neutrality by 2050, Ford is getting a head start, and this new project is expected to yield 650 megawatts of solar energy capacity by 2025. The company says It will also increase Michigan’s solar capacity by 70%. As EV production ramps up, so does the need to make factories more efficient.
Porsche aims to go carbon neutral by 2030, and outfitting its North American headquarters is a step in the right direction. “This solar project contributes to the overall sustainability targets of Porsche AG,” said Kjell Gruner, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. “In 2030, Porsche aims to be CO₂ net neutral across the entire value chain and life cycle of newly sold vehicles.”