Google says it will voluntarily pay for renewable energy from a new Duke Energy solar farm to help power its big data center in the North Carolina city of Lenoir.

Duke says Google is the first to use a new program allowing its large customers to buy renewable energy from the utility.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) says it will offset the tremendous electricity needed for the North Carolina server farm with solar power under a new program that allows corporations to voluntarily pay more for renewable energy.

The energy will be provided by a new Rutherford County solar farm.

Apple, which maintains a big data center as well in Western N.C., has built solar facilities to help power the facility.

A Google spokeswomen would not say how much of the electricity used by the company’s Caldwell County server farm would be offset by the 61 megawatt solar project.

Google described its plan in a blog post headlined “Creating new pathways for buying renewable energy”

“In 2013, when we announced the expansion of our Lenoir, North Carolina data center, we proposed a program with our electricity provider Duke Energy that would allow companies like Google to power their local operations with renewable energy. Today, we’re announcing that we have signed on as the first customer of the program and we will be purchasing energy from a 61 MW solar project in Rutherford County, North Carolina—enough energy to power almost 12,000 average U.S. households.,” wrote Gary Demasi, Data Center Energy and Location Strategy.

“By working closely with providers like Duke, we’re now able to benefit from North Carolina’s emerging solar energy industry and pave the way for other big customers to do the same. This is the first time that we’re purchasing solar power in enough volume to power one of our data centers and it takes us another step towards our goal to eventually power 100% of our operations with renewable energy.

“The program, called the Green Source Rider, is beneficial because it allows companies to buy large amounts of renewable power directly from their utilities, with no additional costs to other ratep ayers. We were an early advocate of such programs and are pleased to see they have been adopted in 10 states, from Virginia to Washington.

“As the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy in the world, we (and our partners) want to encourage the countries and states in which we operate our data centers to add more renewable energy to their grids. To date, we’ve committed to purchase 1.2 gigawatts of renewable energy under long term contracts globally. The impact on emissions is the same as taking 590,000 cars off the road.

“We know that we have a lot more work to do. As we expand our efforts to additional regions where we operate, we’re looking forward to working with utility providers, developers of renewable energy projects, and other stakeholders. At a White House event in July, we made a public pledge to triple our renewable energy purchases for our data centers by 2025.”

Google’s N.C.-based data center Lenoir houses computer systems supporting the company’s Internet search engine and other services such as Gmail and YouTube.