Microsoft made its largest single renewable energy commitment to date in what the software giant claimed is a first-ever move to link clean power procurement with environmental justice.

The technology giant will develop 500MW of US capacity in conjunction with solar specialist Sol Systems, with a focus on “under-resourced communities, working with local leaders and prioritising minority and women-owned businesses”, said chief environmental officer Lucas Joppa.

The initiative will help communities that are heavily exposed to environmental negatives such as pollution and ill-health access the benefits of the energy transition, Microsoft claimed.

The 500MW represents an increase of about a quarter on the 1.9GW of renewable power Microsoft has procured to date.

The software group said earlier this year it aims to be 100%-renewable by 2025 as part of plans to become a ‘carbon-negative’ business by 2030 .

The Sol Systems link-up was among a raft of initiatives announced on Tuesday, including an initial $50m investment in what’s slated to grow into a $1bn Climate Innovation Fund to support green technologies.

Microsoft is among a group including Apple – which announced new plans of its own on Tuesday – Facebook and Google that have been among the biggest earlier backers of corporate renewable energy, in what has been described as a ‘green power arms race’ between America’s technology giants.