Three new utility-scale solar facilities are now online to support Meta’s (formerly the Facebook company) operations in Georgia, according to Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) and independent power producers Silicon Ranch. Pictured above is the Lancaster Solar Farm (80 MWAC).
The solar facilities are part of an ongoing collaboration between Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch to supply 100 percent renewable energy for Meta’s data center in Newton County, Georgia. Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch have now completed six projects totaling 435 MWAC to serve Meta’s operations in Georgia, and recently began construction on a seventh facility.
Construction: More than 1,200 people, the majority of whom were hired from the local region and military veteran community, completed the facilities on schedule, a feat Silicon Ranch has accomplished with every project it has contracted since the company was founded in 2011. The three projects total 287 megawatts (MWAC) of solar generation and are located in three different counties in the southwestern and southeastern parts of the state. Silicon Ranch funded the construction and will own, operate, and maintain the arrays, a disciplined approach the company takes with every project it develops.
Silicon Ranch partnered with IEA to construct the 100 MWAC Lumpkin Solar Farm, located in Stewart County, and McCarthy Building Companies to build the 80 MWAC Lancaster Solar Farm in Colquitt County, as well as the 107 MWAC Snipesville II Solar Farm in Jeff Davis County.
“In 2018, Meta, Morgan Stanley, and Walton EMC came together to design a landmark energy supply agreement for Meta’s Newton Data Center, and over the past three years we have worked shoulder to shoulder with Silicon Ranch to honor the commitments we made,” said Walton EMC CEO Ronnie Lee.
Each project in the portfolio, including the facility under construction in Lee County, will integrate Silicon Ranch’s Regenerative Energy model, a holistic approach to design, construction, and operations that co-locates renewable energy production with regenerative agriculture practices. Through managed sheep grazing using regenerative pastureland management practices, Silicon Ranch restores the land housing each array to a functioning grassland ecosystem, while keeping each site in agricultural production.
Seventh on the way … With the first six solar projects now in commercial operation, Silicon Ranch has begun construction of the partners’ seventh project together, the DeSoto I Solar Farm, a 125 MWAC facility located in Lee County. In October, state and local officials joined Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch to break ground on the facility, and Silicon Ranch plans to hire more than 400 craft workers to build the project before the end of 2022. Once complete, DeSoto I will bring the total capacity of the partners’ portfolio to 560 MWAC of new renewable generation in Georgia.
“Silicon Ranch is honored by the confidence and trust that Walton EMC and Meta continue to place in our company to execute on their behalf, and we thank all the men and women at IEA, McCarthy, and Georgia Transmission Corporation who supported our efforts and helped us continue this important economic development work across the state of Georgia,” said Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and CEO Reagan Farr.