Rocky Mountain Power is to build a new solar farm in Iron County, Utah, to power Facebook’s Eagle Mountain data center.
The US energy company today announced the addition of the 120MW Appaloosa solar project, reportedly bringing the social network’s total solar investments in the state to 814MW.
“Utah has been a great home for our data center, and we are proud to help add new solar energy to the electrical grid,” said Urvi Parekh, head of renewable energy at Facebook. “Our goal is to continue to support all of our operations with 100 percent renewable energy and this partnership with rPlus Energies and Rocky Mountain Power helps us achieve that.”
The solar farm is being developed under Rocky Mountain Power’s Schedule 34 green energy tariff, which allows large customers to purchase renewable energy generated on their behalf. rPlus Energies will lead the development, which is scheduled to be in service at the end of 2023.
“We look forward to helping Rocky Mountain Power and Facebook tap both the excellent solar capacity and talent available in Iron County,” said Luigi Resta, rPlus Energies CEO. “Our team is proud of our history in Iron County, helping to diversify and modernize the county’s energy mix through utility-scale solar development.”
Facebook’s plans for a $750 million, 1 million sq ft (93,000 sq m) data center campus in the state, near to Salt Lake City, were first made public in 2018. A first expansion of 500,000 sq ft (46,000 sq m) was announced in 2019, while in February this year a second expansion totaling more than 900,000 square feet (83,600 square meters) was announced.
In September, the company bought 235MW of solar power in Utah from Rocky Mountain Power. The company has bought more than 250MW of renewable power in the US this year through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), in addition to other renewables projects in India and Singapore.
As of 2020, Facebook says its operations were supported by 100 percent renewable energy and the company has reached net-zero emissions. The company says it has contracts in place for more than 6GW of wind and solar energy across 18 states and five countries, with all 63+ projects located on the same electrical grids as the data centers they support.
“We've reached net-zero emissions for our operations and we're one of the largest buyers of renewable energy in the world - resulting in $8 billion invested in 63 wind and solar projects around the world, creating tens of thousands of jobs,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on his site. “Thanks to our team and partners who helped reach this goal!”