Solar farm
(Image credit: Fifth Third Bank 'Renewable Power' video)

Fifth Third Bank is investing in the sun. The financial giant recently became the first Fortune 500 company to achieve 100% renewable power with solar alone. And it did so with a single solar project.

Scott Hassell, Fifth Third’s director of sustainability, says that the Aulander Holloman solar facility went online last fall. The new facility spans roughly 1,400 acres in North Carolina. It’s one of the largest solar installations in the state.

“It’s very exciting,” Hassell says. “We brought into existence a project that generates as much power as we use in a year, roughly 200,000 megawatt hours of electricity.”

Hassell says that Fifth Third facilitated the solar project’s construction by signing what’s called a virtual power purchase agreement.

“In order for a developer to build a power project, they need to be able to get financing, and so what Fifth Third did was commit to purchasing the power at a fixed price,” he says.

That helped the massive project get financed and built.

“So a really big commitment,” Hassell says. “And we’re excited to be able to drive that kind of investment and drive that leadership to show that companies can be bold leaders on renewable power and help us accelerate this transition to renewable power.”

Reporting credit: Ariel Hansen/ChavoBart Digital Media.