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05/13/2021

Starbucks enters ambitious solar partnership in New York

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Starbucks Coffee Company is moving forward with its pledge to become “resource-positive” by launching a multi-year solar program in New York State.

The coffee giant has partnered with sustainable infrastructure provider Generate to put the first six of up to 23 community solar projects in New York into service. The initiatives are expected to supply solar energy for local Starbucks stores and up to 24,000 households, small businesses, nonprofits, churches, universities and stores in multiple geographies, including those designated as under-served communities. 

The solar projects will provide more than 119,885 MWhs of clean energy to Starbucks New York stores and the surrounding community annually. They support a multi-decade commitment Starbucks made in January 2020 to become a resource-positive company by storing more carbon than it emits, eliminating waste and providing more clean, freshwater than it uses.

About 24 megawatts (MW) of the Starbucks-backed projects are now in service. Starbucks made the investment through a fund established by financial services company Churchill Stateside Group. Additionally, Starbucks is receiving renewable energy credits from the projects, which are expected to offset over 70% of Starbucks’ electricity usage within the state of New York.

In addition to clean energy, program participants will receive a discount to their current electricity rates under New York’s Community Distributed Generation program, which aims to make clean energy access more affordable. Starbucks has committed $97 million of tax equity to the community solar projects, in collaboration with Generate and Churchill Stateside Group.

“At Starbucks, our vision is to become resource-positive, to give more than we take from the planet. People is what this climate crisis is all about and so we must focus on the people who are disproportionally impacted by climate change,” said Michael Kobori, chief sustainability officer, Starbucks. “That is why we go beyond simply powering our stores with green energy; we’re committed to supporting and strengthening underserved communities and using our scale for good to bring more clean power onto the grid.”

Starbucks operates more than 32,000 stores around the globe.