On September 27, Microsoft announced a new venture towards sustainability in partnership with SSE Airtricity. Focusing their work in Ireland, the two companies are seeking to bring solar power to schools across the country.

Microsoft Contributes to Grid-Connected Solar Project in Ireland
Microsoft Contributes to Grid-Connected Solar Project in Ireland

Article from | Shannon Flynn, ReHack

To do so, Microsoft Ireland is investing in photovoltaic (PV) panels to install on the rooftops of primary and secondary schools. 

Microsoft's press release details the partnership and the plans for the country's schools. SSE Airtricity is Ireland's leading company for sustainable energy, providing countless residents with eco-friendly resources. Now, as a Microsoft Ireland partner, SSE Airtricity can bring its reach farther with schools in Leinster, Connaught and Munster. 

Using the existing energy grids in Ireland, Microsoft and SSE Airtricity plan to connect the new solar panels and bring more power to the people. Schools can then reduce their carbon footprints and their spending on energy. 

The partnership entails using Azure IoT and Microsoft Azure as key cloud computing systems to process the data that the solar grids take in. Then the companies can use these internet-connected sensors and software to act upon the data. For instance, reducing carbon output will yield imperative environmental changes. Both companies acknowledge the threats of the climate crisis and plan for this solar venture to be just the beginning.


The Logistics

The plan will help 27 primary and secondary schools across Ireland. Microsoft and SSE Airtricity are working closely with each school to secure the proper roofing space for the solar panels. With Microsoft Azure and Azure IoT connectivity, the companies can stay in contact with the schools at all times regarding progress.

Over a 15 year span, Microsft expects the panels will produce a significant amount of clean, renewable energy — enough to offset roughly 2.1 million kilograms of carbon emissions. This elimination is a powerful step in combating climate change. Decarbonization is necessary on every level — these schools now have the power to do so. 

Further, the $1.17 million — roughly one million euros — investment will help schools save money, too. The solar grid helps use energy more efficiently and carefully. The savings add up for the institutions and help allocate that money to other resources and necessities. 

Microsoft and SSE Airtricity's partnership is fast-moving, too. The companies understand the need for rapid change when it comes to the climate crisis. They have set a 2023 deadline goal for the project's completion — aiming to finish before the academic year starts. This deadline is invaluable for Ireland's 2030 goal of a 70% increase in renewable energy.

In the tech sustainability world, this goal is a sign of the fast progress that the environment requires.


Furthering the Reach

This deal would not be possible without Microsoft's involvement. It's a prime example of how technology innovates progress for the climate. However, the companies are taking the project to the classroom, too. This dynamic offers a unique combination of educating students and taking action to bring about results. 

The program seeks to offer insight to the students inside the 27 schools about renewable energy, sustainability and the climate crisis. They'll get to partake in activities, events and challenges that expand their thinking about the environment, technology and energy. 

In the workplace and in schools, future generations are becoming increasingly interested in eco-friendly lifestyles and actions. Educating students about how solar grids lower emissions, and about energy as a whole, is a unique step to take. 

This project pairs well with Microsoft's other sustainable ventures. For instance, the company pledges to be carbon negative by 2030 while also offsetting its previous carbon emissions by 2050. Further, Microsoft has been using 100% renewable energy since 2014. 


Tech-Powered Change

With Microsoft and SSE Airtricity leading the charge in Ireland, these kinds of projects must expand to properly combat climate change. This project shows the power that technology holds for bringing about progressive steps forward. As Microsoft continues its work, other tech companies must join the movement and enable renewable energy.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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