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Meta gains nearly 300MW of solar power to fuel Georgia data centre

A total of 995 MW are planned with the construction of a seventh solar farm breaking ground with developers aiming to bring services online before the end of 2022.

By João Marques Lima

Co-founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

4 Mins

December 16, 2021 | 2:00 AM GMT

Meta gains nearly 300MW of solar power to fuel Georgia data centre

Render of Meta's Newton Data Center. Source: Meta

Consumer-owned utility group Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) and independent power producer Silicon Ranch said three new utility-scale solar facilities are now generating carbon-free renewable energy to help support Meta’s (NASDAQ: FQ) (formerly the Facebook company) operations in Georgia.

The three projects total 287 megawatts (MWAC) of solar generation and are located in three different counties in the southwestern and southeastern parts of the state.

Silicon Ranch funded the construction and will own, operate, and maintain the arrays.

Silicon Ranch partnered with IEA to construct the 100 MWAC Lumpkin Solar Farm, located in Stewart County, and McCarthy Building Companies to build the 80 MWAC Lancaster Solar Farm in Colquitt County, as well as the 107 MWAC Snipesville II Solar Farm in Jeff Davis County.

The solar facilities are part of an ongoing collaboration between Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch to supply 100 percent renewable energy for Meta’s data centre in Newton County, Georgia.

Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch have now completed the installation of six projects totalling 435 MWAC on behalf of Meta.

Walton EMC CEO Ronnie Lee, said: “In 2018, Meta, Morgan Stanley, and Walton EMC came together to design a landmark energy supply agreement for Meta’s Newton Data Center, and over the past three years we have worked shoulder to shoulder with Silicon Ranch to honor the commitments we made.

“The past two years especially have introduced unprecedented challenges, including a pandemic and severe disruptions to the global supply chain, and so on behalf of our Board of Directors and the entire team at Walton EMC, I want to express our sincere appreciation to Silicon Ranch for their steadfast dedication to deliver these world-class facilities right on schedule.”

With the first six solar projects now in commercial operation, Silicon Ranch has begun construction of the partners’ seventh project together, the DeSoto I Solar Farm, a 125 MWAC facility located in Lee County.

In October, state and local officials joined Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch to break ground on the facility, and Silicon Ranch plans to hire more than 400 craft workers to build the project before the end of 2022.

Once complete, DeSoto I will bring the total capacity of the partners’ portfolio to 560 MWAC of new renewable generation in Georgia.

Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and CEO Reagan Farr, said: “Silicon Ranch is honoured by the confidence and trust that Walton EMC and Meta continue to place in our company to execute on their behalf, and we thank all the men and women at IEA, McCarthy, and Georgia Transmission Corporation who supported our efforts and helped us continue this important economic development work across the state of Georgia.

“Walton EMC’s customer-centric approach has supported Meta’s meaningful investments in Georgia, and Silicon Ranch has now invested more than half a billion dollars across half a dozen counties to help our partners meet their renewable energy goals, a legacy we are pleased to expand in Lee County over the next twelve months.”

Urvi Parekh, head of Renewable Energy at Meta. Added: “We are thrilled that these new solar projects are now online and will help us continue to meet our goal of supporting our data centre in Newton County with 100 percent renewable energy.

“We thank Silicon Ranch and Walton EMC for their continued partnership, for their dedication to successful execution, and for sharing our commitment to have a positive impact on the communities where we locate.”

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Co-founder and Editor, The Tech Capital

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