Walton Electric Membership Corporation Contracts with 200 Megawatts of New Solar Projects for Facebook's Newton Data Center
Cooperative collaboration building state's largest solar development project and boosting economy
MONROE, Ga., Dec. 5, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), a consumer-owned utility with a reputation for energy innovation, has executed contracts with two solar developers for three new solar projects as part of its agreement to supply 100 percent renewable energy for Facebook's data center in Newton County, Georgia. The collaboration is the largest solar development project in Georgia.
Facebook chose Walton EMC as the power supplier for the Newton Data Center when it announced the 970,000 square foot facility in March.
Silicon Ranch and Strata Solar will construct world-class solar power plants that will support the new data center. The facilities will be located in Southwest Georgia.
We are happy to welcome Silicon Ranch and Strata Solar to the quality partnership of Facebook, Walton EMC and Morgan Stanley to complete the groundbreaking energy supply arrangement for Facebook's Newton Data Center, said Walton EMC CEO Ronnie Lee. Our unique agreements will serve as models for similar projects all across the country and bring noteworthy economic rewards locally.
We are thrilled to be working with Walton EMC, Silicon Ranch and Strata Solar to bring more than 200 megawatts (mW) of new solar resources to Georgia, said Rachel Peterson, vice president of data center strategy for Facebook. We are committed to supporting all of Facebook's operations with 100 percent renewable energy and these new solar facilities will help us meet that goal for our Newton Data Center. Developing these resources within the same electric grid that supports our data center will bring even more investment to the region.
The Newton Data Center is Facebook's ninth such state-of-the-art facility in the country. The centers are among the most advanced, energy-efficient facilities in the world. They use 38 percent less electricity than the average data center.
Economic boon for Georgia
The solar power plants will economically benefit local communities, with ripple effects felt all across the state.
Every facility will add substantial revenue to each county's tax income which will benefit local school systems.
Construction will create more than 800 jobs, with additional employment for ongoing operation and maintenance. Local labor and local contractors will fill most of these positions.
The total investment of Silicon Ranch and Strata Solar will reach more than $230 million. Collectively, this is the largest solar development in Georgia, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Silicon Ranch Project
Location: Early County, Georgia
Size (electrical): 102.5 mW (AC)
Expected Completion: 2019
Jobs created: construction – 400; operation and maintenance
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