Making global operations carbon neutral through offsite solar solutions

How AT&T advanced their aggressive sustainability goals by leveraging Community Solar.

Community Solar CASE STUDY

0Community Solar Subscription
0 clean energy produced annually (est.)
99across New York State

The Challenge

AT&T is one of the largest corporate buyers of renewable energy in the country and is committed to being carbon neutral across its entire global operations by 2035. As a distributed corporation — with different real estate structures across their many stores — onsite solar alone would not be enough to meet AT&T’s aggressive sustainability goals while still providing energy savings. Faced with this challenge, AT&T decided to explore offsite solar opportunities, such as community solar.

“By working together with developers like DSD, we’re able to explore solutions outside of onsite 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.”

Shannon Thomas Carroll
AVP of Global Environmental Sustainability

The Solution

Community solar is an ideal solar agreement for distributed companies, like AT&T, that need to meet environmental targets throughout their stores but can’t pursue onsite solar for every location. By leveraging DSD’s offsite solar solution, AT&T can subscribe to community solar projects and offset a portion of their stores’ electricity (that are located within the same utility territory as the projects) without installing a single solar panel.

This approach not only allows AT&T to lower its carbon footprint but also to save on energy costs, since subscription to community solar is priced at a discount of the utility rate. If the utility rate goes down, the community solar rate goes down, guaranteeing savings throughout the entire subscription. 

The Execution

In 2021, AT&T subscribed to five community solar sites in New York State — Cortland (5 MW), East Syracuse (2.7 MW), Medina (2.5 MW), Utica (0.9 MW), and Swan Lake (4.4 MW) — totaling over 18 GWh of clean energy purchased within National Grid and NYSEG territories. The partnership has grown since then. AT&T is now subscribing to four additional DSD community solar projects in Massachusetts and Illinois, and looking to expand further to ensure they meet their aggressive sustainability goals.

With a community solar subscription, if the utility rate goes down, the solar rate goes down, guaranteeing savings throughout the entire subscription.

SCSU CT 3170kW Groundmount

The Outcome

AT&T’s initial subscription to these five projects is projected to offset approximately 61% of annual energy use in the National Grid and NYSEG utility territories. This marks AT&T’s first step into community solar, which will further the company’s efforts to meet its sustainability goals. AT&T will save on energy costs while also supporting New York’s renewable energy initiatives and help in providing the local communities access to renewable energy.

The Impact

0CO2 avoided annually (est.)
0taken off the street each year (carbon equivalent)
0in the National Grid and NYSEG utility territories

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