With JPMorgan Chase & Co. nearly finished turning the parking lot at its McCoy Center in Polaris into a giant solar farm, the company plans to do something similar in its other Columbus offices.
The bank, the largest private employer in the Columbus region with around 20,000 employees, will add solar systems at three additional locations in the Columbus region – Vision Drive, Morse Crossing and in Westerville. As with the Polaris project, the panels will be added to the carports at the sites.
“These installations in the Columbus market are the crown jewels of our solar systems because of the scale, size and impact,” said Tyler Deaton, vice president of Chase’s global real estate group, which is focused on sustainability.
When the modules are up and running at Polaris, they, along with the Chase solar panels previously installed on the roof, will meet 75% of the electricity needs of the McCoy Center, the largest single-user office building in the United States after the Pentagon.
All of the projects combined will provide enough electricity to meet half of the electricity needs of the bank’s Columbus operations.
The size of the project at the McCoy Center reflects the size of the building.
The McCoy Center is Chase’s largest building in the world and is home to 10,000 workers. At 2 million square feet, the building is the same area as the Empire State Building.
When the project is completed later this year, it will consist of approximately 40,000 panels covering approximately 165,000 square feet.
The panels are about 20 to 25 feet above the ground and form a canopy over much of the parking lot, which will have 9,000 spots by the time the work is complete.
The Project is the second largest commercial solar office system in the world, according to Chase. The only larger one is at Apple’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino, California.
The panels will generate 14.8 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 1,000 households. The other three locations will together generate around 13 megawatts of electricity.
Chase installs solar panels in its other offices across the country, but Columbus stands out because of Chase’s huge presence here.
The work Chase is doing is part of an extensive effort by technology companies, retailers, and other companies to invest in clean energy to fight climate change.
In 2019, companies installed more than 1,280 megawatts of commercial solar capacity, according to a report released by the Solar Energy Industries Association last fall. The acceptance of solar energy by companies has increased rapidly in recent years. Two thirds of the total capacity has been installed since 2015.
“The world’s best-known brands are leading the way when it comes to clean energy,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, President and CEO of SEIA, in the report. “Companies choose solar power because it can significantly reduce their energy costs and improve predictability in these uncertain times. We anticipate that the corporate sector will make greater investments in solar as companies make and meet clean energy commitments to address the climate crisis. “
Other banks have taken steps similar to Chase’s.
Cincinnati-based Fifth Third announced in January that it had achieved carbon neutrality for its operations in 2020, including greenhouse gas emissions from its facilities and business travel.
The bank said this was achieved by reducing the company’s carbon footprint, purchasing renewable energy, and using carbon offset payments from a project in the retail footprint for residual emissions.
“Becoming the first US-based regional commercial bank to achieve carbon neutrality shows Fifth Third’s clear commitment to environmental leadership in the financial services industry,” said Greg Carmichael, chairman and CEO of Fifth Third, in one Explanation. “Achieving and maintaining CO2 neutrality ensures that our business activities minimize the impact on the environment and benefit all of our stakeholders.”
Huntington Bancshares has installed a solar panel in its Easton offices and is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 31% from 2017 to 2027.
Chase’s push is part of the bank’s efforts to also help clients meet the Paris Agreement climate goals.
Last month, the bank set a goal of funding and enabling more than $ 2.5 trillion – including $ 1 trillion in green activities – over 10 years to advance long-term solutions that help Address climate change and contribute to sustainable development.
The bank has set a target for 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the operation of our buildings, branches and data centers by 40% based on a baseline for 2017.
Chases Deaton said that when he first got into commercial real estate, sustainability issues were just beginning to take hold.
“It has grown into something beyond my wildest dreams of a pillar not just in real estate but in all industries,” he said. “That’s what all companies focus on.”