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Why Cisco, Why Solar, Why Now

In the past year, Cisco has significantly ramped up its use of renewable energy with a focus on solar.  We’ve been sharing these activities in press releases, blog posts, videos and our annual CSR report, but we haven’t talked about why – and these reasons are deeper than just a commitment to the environment.

Here’s a short summary of some of our recent activities with renewable energy:

  • Signed an agreement with NRG Renew LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG), to purchase the output of a 20 MW solar energy facility located in Blythe, California for our San Jose headquarters and surrounding Bay Area locations
  • Completed 4 on-site solar projects at our sites in Texas, Massachusetts, and Bangalore, India taking our total solar production capacity over 2 MW (see photos below)
  • Launched a solar discount program for employees and contractors, along with their friends and family, to simplify and reduce the cost of installing solar panels on their homes leading to over 50 installations totaling over 250 kW in less than 1 year
  • Joined the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles supporting the increase in accessibility to renewable energy along with many of our peers in the technology industry
Free standing solar PV array in the parking area of Cisco's campus in Boxborough, MA

Free standing solar PV array in the parking area of Cisco’s campus in Boxborough, Massachusetts

Solar PV array on top of Cisco’s data center in Allen, Texas

Why have we undertaken these activities?  Certainly, each of these actions are helping bring more renewable power on line, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and moving us toward a better environment.  But any company, in any industry, can make the same claim.  To be authentic, it has to hold a special significance related to why Cisco exists.

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Accelerating the shift to renewable power

When we announced Cisco’s new environmental sustainability goals, one goal continued to require the most clarification from both internal and external stakeholders:  having our corporate electricity emissions factor at half of the International Energy Agency (IEA) world average.

This goal, and it’s delicate wording, perhaps only makes sense to us sustainability nerds who are immersed in the Greenhouse Gas conversation…

Given the recent market report from the IEA on renewable energy, I thought a post would be useful to explain the reasoning behind this goal, and how it helps both Cisco and the planet by including this goal in our efforts.

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Light-as-a-Service: Why IT and Lighting Will Converge

After witnessing a live demo of the PoE-powered, iphone-controlled LED lights in the EnergyWise pavilion at Cisco Live, the IT manager for a well-known auto maker approached Chris Isaacson, CEO of NuLEDs. He asked one question: “How many colors does the fixture support?” Chris’s reply echoed Henry Ford’s famous quote in his 1927 autobiography, “You can have any color as long as it’s in the visible spectrum.”

The marriage of microprocessors with legacy products will create new products, solutions and markets. The work of partners in the Cisco EnergyWise pavilion at CiscoLive San Diego highlights this well. Though not all 17,000 Cisco Live attendees visited the EnergyWise Pavilion, those who did witnessed a world in transition. Read More »

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