Fast food giant McDonald’s will use solar power to help it achieve its sustainability goals.

McDonald’s is one of the most recognizable brands in the world. They are known for their food, but they also have a mission to make the world a better place. That’s why they are working with EDF Renewables North America, a company that creates renewable energy from the sun.

A 15-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for energy from the 255 MWac/332 MWdc Apollo Solar project that EDF Renewables is building in Texas was signed by McDonald’s Corp. In June 2024, the solar plant is anticipated to start supplying electricity.

Walid Norris, vice president of client solutions for Customer First Renewables, a consulting firm that aids businesses in recognizing the social, environmental, and financial benefits of renewable energy, says that.

“The McDonald’s team was determined through their use of innovative contracting structures to execute a major solar procurement that would significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, and they found a great partner with EDF Renewables. We are proud to have supported them in this effort and congratulate all parties involved for reaching this exciting outcome,”

The Apollo Solar project will eventually produce 619,000 MWh of low-carbon energy yearly, which will be sufficient to power over 1,200 U.S. homes. McDonald’s eating places. This equates to preventing more than 439,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions yearly, or more than 95,000 passenger vehicles’ worth of annual greenhouse gas emissions. Over the course of the project’s operating life, taxing agencies are anticipated to receive more than $30 million in additional tax income, creating around 300 employment opportunities during the building period.

McDonalds will be able to lower GHG emissions through the purchase of clean energy from Apollo Solar, supporting their environmental aims, while the project’s building phase will benefit the local community’s economy through job creation, local spending with vendors, and an expanded tax base. EDF Renewables’ Matt McCluskey, vice president of development for the South Central Region, stated that “We applaud McDonald’s for taking action on climate change and are honored to partner with them to address their restaurant electricity carbon footprint,”

Elaine Strunk McDonald’s Senior Director of Global Sustainability added  “We are thrilled to add EDF Renewables and the Apollo Solar project to our U.S. renewable energy portfolio as part of our continued commitment to climate action. Apollo Solar plays a significant role in our science-based emissions reduction target for 2030 and brings a considerable amount of new renewable generation to the grid. Together with EDF Renewables, this project furthers our shared goal of making a more sustainable planet for generations to come.”

The Apollo Solar project is not the company’s first venture into solar energy, and it has signed on for 15 years of solar power. McDonald’s pledged two years ago to achieve net zero emissions across all of its global operations by 2050. The business signed on to the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C campaign as well as the United Nations Race to Zero campaign.

In 2020, the first McDonald’s with a net zero energy consumption opened at Orlando, Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort. In addition to having vertical gardens to collect CO2 already present in the atmosphere, the structure is covered in 55.8 kW of Onyx Solar solar glass.