Facebook Invests In Utah Solar Farm To Power Data Center
Energy provider Rocky Mountain Power unveiled plans this week for the Appaloosa solar project, a 120-megawatt facility in Iron County that will support Facebook’s hyperscale data center outside of Salt Lake City. The solar farm is expected to go online in 2023.
The Appaloosa project will be developed under Rocky Mountain Power’s Section 34 green energy tariff, a program designed jointly with Facebook to create sustainable energy infrastructure. Under Section 34, large customers like the social media giant purchase green energy created for them from specific facilities at a predetermined rate. This gives the utility the financial certainty required to finance projects like the Iron County solar farm.
“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% renewable energy and this partnership with rPlus Energies and Rocky Mountain Power helps us achieve that.”
Facebook’s investment in the Appaloosa facility comes four months after the company announced plans to dramatically expand the Eagle Mountain Data Center. Following the construction of two additional buildings, the 900K SF expansion will bring the total size of the hyperscale campus to around 2.4M SF.
Growth at the Eagle Mountain campus was part of a wave of data center expansion undertaken by Facebook in the first months of 2021. As previously reported by Bisnow, the Silicon Valley behemoth spent $2B to add 900K SF to its data center in Prineville, Oregon, and tacked on nearly 1M SF to its facility in Sarpy County, Nebraska.
In Utah, power created by the Appaloosa facility will bring the total amount of solar energy to support Facebook’s data centers in the region to 814 MW, increasing the state’s total solar capacity by more than 50%.
According to Facebook, the project is part of a broader commitment to renewable energy that allowed the company to hit its target of becoming carbon-neutral in 2020. The company has invested more than $8B in more than 60 wind and solar projects around the world.