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Verizon to invest $100 million in clean energy

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Rick Wilking/Reuters/File

(Read caption) A sign hangs in the Verizon booth at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. A new $100 million spending plan would be Verizon’s largest investment in clean energy to date.

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Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) will spend $100 million to green up its facilities with solar panels and fuel cells, putting it in the big leagues with clean energy followers like Google and Yahoo.

The announcement, on Tuesday, will benefit California-based solar panel developer SunPower Corp. (SPWR), which will supply and install solar panels in over a dozen Verizon facilities across five US states.

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The clean energy spending spree will also benefit Oregon-based fuel cell maker ClearEdge Power, which will supply and install hydrogen fuel cells at Verizon facilities in California, New Jersey and New York. (Related article: Could MLP’s be Embraced by the Renewable Energy Sector)

Verizon says the $100 million price tag on its clean energy plan makes economic sense in the long run. 

"We drive shareholder value, but we're also a good corporate citizen," James Gowen, Verizon’s chief sustainability officer, told Fox News.

By 2014, Verizon is targeting a total of 15 megawatts of clean power a year operating its facilities—or the equivalent of the power necessary for 6,000 average residences. According to the math, this would reduce Verizon’s carbon footprint by about 10,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

While solar panels will reduce Verizon’s carbon footprint, fuel cells have another added benefit: They can serve as a back-up power plan during outages resulting from extreme weather conditions like Hurricane Sandy. (Related article: Clean Economy Doesn’t Mean Cleaner World)

Fuel cells use a chemical reaction to produce electricity and heat. The benefits of fuel cells are that the electricity can be created on site where it is used, and if biofuels are used, then the carbon footprint is further reduced.

This $100 million spending plan would be Verizon’s largest investment in clean energy to date.

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