The nation’s leading tech giants have shown a penchant for forward-thinking ventures beyond their core business models. Companies like Google, Apple and Amazon have led by example on a number of popular digital and energy trends, including driverless cars, high speed internet access, and renewable power.
Facebook is also carrying the torch. In August of this year, it committed to contract renewable energy for all of its electricity consumption by 2020. As part of that commitment, the social media giant also requires that the renewable energy it procures come from new projects on the grid where each data center is located.
It has already announced solar developments to power its data centers in several states. In December, it announced a commitment to 100 percent renewable energy at its new, state-of-the-art data center in Newton County, Ga.
Facebook chose a local consumer-owned utility, Walton Electric Membership Corp. (EMC), to provide the power for the data center. For its part, the utility executed contracts with two solar developers for three new solar projects to help it fulfill its terms of the agreement.
The two developers, Silicon Ranch and Strata Solar will construct the solar power plants that will support the new data center. They will be located in Southwest Georgia.
The Solar Energy Industries Association reports that with a total investment of more than $230 million, the projects collectively represent the largest solar development in the state.
Located in Early County, the 102.5-megawatt (MW) Silicon Ranch Project is expected to be completed in 2019. It will deploy the first locally-produced solar modules from the Korean-owned, Hanwha Q CELLs’ new manufacturing facility in Georgia, which is also the largest in the country. It will create 400 construction jobs.
Located in Calhoun and Colquitt Counties, the two Strata Solar Projects will have a combined capacity of 100MW, with 80MW at the Calhoun location and 20MW at the Colquitt location. They are expected to be completed in 2020 and will also create 400 construction jobs.