Meta Platforms Inc. announced seven new solar projects in Georgia and Tennessee totaling 720 MWac to support its regional operations with 100% renewable energy. Independent power producer Silicon Ranch is partnering with Walton Electric Membership Corp. (EMC) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to supply the renewable power to serve Meta’s data centers in Georgia and the Tennessee Valley, respectively.
As part of the agreements, Silicon Ranch will fund, build, own, operate and maintain the solar facilities over the life of each of the seven projects, bringing significant investment to rural communities throughout the region.
In Georgia, Walton EMC recently executed contracts with Silicon Ranch on behalf of Meta (formerly the Facebook company) for three new solar facilities totaling 560 MWac as part of the electric cooperative’s agreement to supply Meta with 100% renewable energy. Silicon Ranch will work with Walton EMC to deliver projects in each of the next three years to support Meta’s operations.
“As an electric cooperative, Walton EMC is driven by our ‘concern for community’ and our devotion to serving the needs of our member-owners, and our partnership with Meta and Silicon Ranch enables us to honor our commitments to these principles and values,” said Ronnie Lee, CEO of Walton EMC.
TVA recently signed agreements with Silicon Ranch on behalf of Meta for four new solar facilities in Tennessee totaling 160 MWac under TVA’s Green Invest program, which helps customers such as Meta meet their long-term sustainability goals with new utility-scale solar projects located within the Tennessee Valley. Silicon Ranch will partner with TVA and local power companies to deliver all four projects in 2024 to support Meta’s operations in Tennessee and Alabama.
“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 announcement of the seven new projects coincides with the nearing completion of two additional solar facilities by Silicon Ranch that serve Meta’s operations: the 125 MWac DeSoto I Solar Farm in partnership with Walton EMC in Lee County, Georgia, and the 70 MWAC McKellar Solar Farm with TVA in Madison County, Tennessee. Despite supply chain constraints that caused project delays across the solar industry, Silicon Ranch placed both projects in service on schedule, a feat the company has accomplished with every project it has signed since beginning operations in 2011.
“We are proud of the work we have done with Walton EMC and TVA to accelerate the transition to renewables in Georgia and the Tennessee Valley,” said Urvi Parekh, head of renewable energy at Meta. “As we continue to support our global operations with 100% renewable energy, we are pleased to expand our partnership with Silicon Ranch, a trusted partner who shares our commitment to have a positive impact on the communities where we locate.”
Including the abovementioned seven projects in development, Meta is partnering with Silicon Ranch on 16 solar facilities to serve its operations in Georgia and the Tennessee Valley. In total, the portfolio has a capacity of approximately 1,500 MWac. Eight of the projects are now operational, generating approximately 630 MWac of solar energy, and each of the plants integrates Silicon Ranch’s transformative Regenerative Energy model of land management, a holistic approach to design, construction, and operations 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 CEO 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.”
The recently completed projects and the seven new facilities expand Meta’s renewable energy leadership, as highlighted by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in its recently published Solar Means Business 2022 report. According to SEIA, Meta has procured more solar and brought more solar capacity online since 2020 than any other business in the United States.
— Solar Builder magazine