Array Technologies to supply trackers for Facebook solar plants in New Mexico

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Today Affordable Solar announced that it will use Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 trackers for the 30 MW-AC of solar projects which it is building to supply Facebook’s data center in New Mexico.

Affordable Solar was awarded a $37 million contract by Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) to build the three sites. The contractor plans to being work in mid-2017, and to complete the first of the three 10 MW-AC plants by the beginning of 2018, before Facebook’s data center is complete.

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has praised the deal, estimating that building the plants will create 300 construction jobs, among the “thousands” that will be employed building the data center.

Facebook’s arrangement to buy power from the solar projects through PNM is an increasingly common form of corporate procurement in areas with regulated (monopoly) utilities where businesses and industrial customers cannot directly buy power from wind and solar facilities.

The Facebook-PNM deal mirrors a similar deal that Apple recently made with NV Energy, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) says these “Green Tariff” arrangements are one of the fastest areas of growth for renewable energy procurement.

Including these solar projects and power from wind farms, the Facebook data center will be 100% powered by renewable energy. This is also not unusual, as technology companies like Facebook are leading corporate procurement of renewable energy. According to BNEF, Amazon, Google and Microsoft together signed contracts for 1.5 GW of wind and solar in 2016, as the top three companies for corporate procurement of renewables.

An article in pv magazine’s upcoming March 2017 global print edition will explore the issue of corporate procurement of renewable energy in greater depth. Please see our subscription page for more details.