Facebook owner Meta Platforms will power additional data center operations around the Southeast with 720 MW of new solar developments in Georgia and Tennessee with Silicon Ranch.
Silicon Ranch is partnering with the Walton Electric Membership Corporation and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to supply power from seven new solar facilities to power Meta’s data centers in the two Southeast states, respectively.
In Georgia, Walton EMC signed contracts with Silicon Ranch for three solar projects with 560 MWAC to be constructed over the next three years.
In Tennessee, TVA signed agreements with the developer for four projects with 160 MWAC that will be built over the next three years for the social media company. The TVA projects are included in the regional electric cooperative’s Green Invest program, a Tennessee Valley solar procurement program designed for corporate and industrial clients.
Including the seven projects, Meta is partnered with Silicon Ranch on 16 solar projects in Georgia and Tennessee with total capacity of 1.50 GW. Eight of the projects are operational generating 630 MW of power.
Silicon Ranch, a Nashville-based utility-scale solar developer backed by Shell, said it is nearing completion on two near-term Meta solar facilities, the 125 MWAC DeSoto I Solar Farm in Lee County, Georgia, and the 70 MWAC McKellar Solar Farm in Madison County, Tennessee.
Each of the Meta projects uses Silicon Ranch’s transformative Regenerative Energy agrivoltaics model of land management, a solar design and construction approach that co-locates renewable energy production with regenerative agriculture practices.
“Meta’s commitment to support their operations with 100% renewable energy is directly responsible for our own commitment to invest more than $2.3 billion across more than a dozen rural communities in Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky,” said Reagan Farr, president and chief executive officer of Silicon Ranch. “As a company that calls this region home, we look forward to being active members of each community for decades to come.”
“TVA is building the energy system of the future, and this public-private partnership with Meta and Silicon Ranch demonstrates the strength of TVA’s public power model to attract capital investment and high-quality jobs into the communities we serve while helping businesses meet their sustainability goals,” said Doug Perry, senior vice president of commercial energy solutions for TVA.
The southeastern solar projects highlight Meta’s renewable energy leadership, as highlighted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in its recent Solar Means Business 2022 report. According to SEIA, Meta has procured more solar since 2020 than any other U.S. company.
TVA serves 10 million people across an 80,000 square mile territory in the southeast U.S., extending beyond its home state borders. The company stated goals of targeting up to 10 GW of solar by 2035, and more than 200,000 EVs on roadways by 2028. The utility expects to have about 2.8 GW of solar in TVA operation by 2024.
According to TVA’s 2021 sustainability report, the regional utility cooperative owns just 1 MW of operational solar capacity. TVA instead has developers such as Silicon Ranch play the role of owner-operator, so that they can access the federal investment tax credit incentive, an option that TVA, as a government entity, cannot access.
TVA said its Green Invest program has led to nearly $3 billion in solar investments since 2018. A large driver of growth in this program is through contracts with corporations like Google, Meta, and others.
In total, the SEIA said Tennessee has 609 MW of installed solar capacity through Q3 2022. The state employs over 4,109 people in solar, and there has been an estimated $900 million in solar investment in the state.
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