Author: Tronserve admin
Wednesday 28th July 2021 04:42 AM
Facebook Is Building a Massive Solar Project in Texas
Facebook is building up a big solar farm in West Texas that's considered to be one of many largest solar projects in the nation and the social media giant's first direct investment in renewable energy.
Boston-based renewable energy developer Longroad Energy newly stated it was partnering with Facebook on the $416 million project, just as Facebook is finishing construction of a data center near Albuquerque.
The Prospero Solar project just north of Odessa, Texas, would have a capacity of 379 megawatts, which can be a sufficient amount to power around 72,000 homes based on the national average, the Solar Energy Industries Association said.
The project exceeds Facebook's milestone to use renewable energy to power its data centers, where the social media giant holds photos, videos and other information that people post on the platform.
Prospero Solar is anticipated to be finalized next year and will take up around 7 square miles (18 square kilometers) — more than five times the size of Central Park in New York City. Menlo Park, California-based Facebook will be the only tax equity investor, Longroad said.
Ben Inskeep, a research analyst for EQ Research, a North Carolina-based renewable energy consulting firm, said it is a good way to go for Facebook to invest in solar power mainly because renewable energy is now more affordable and its data centers have huge operating costs.
"West Texas has some of the best solar resources in the nation," Inskeep stated. "So it's not about saying you support renewable energy. It makes good business sense." Shell Energy North America and Facebook will share the power generated by the solar farm. "Facebook is excited to be one of the first companies to use a direct investment to meet our renewable energy goals," company energy strategy manager Peter Freed said in a statement.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported in April that Facebook was constructing six new solar projects to support its data centers. They house tens of thousands of computer servers, which are linked to the outside world through fiber-optic cables.
"Our data centers are already some of the most energy efficient in the world, and last year we set a goal for all our data centers and offices to use 100% renewable energy by 2020," Zuckerberg posted on his personal Facebook page. "These new solar projects will help us reach that goal."
It comes as Facebook battles New Mexico regulators over a new transmission line to its data center in the small town of Los Lunas.
State regulators last month refused to reconsider their decision for the largest utility to bill Facebook $39 million for the transmission line. They said ratepayers could not be charged for the project because the line wouldn't benefit retail customers.
The Public Service Co. of New Mexico said it's unhappy by the decision and is reviewing options for how to proceed.
The New Mexico data center is one of seven such sites for Facebook, and includes six buildings for data storage. It is located on a patch of desert at the edge of Los Lunas, which lies just beyond the edge of New Mexico's largest metropolitan area and along the Rio Grande.
All of the data center's buildings is roughly the size of four football fields and has many "data halls," or darkened, vast rooms where Facebook plans to store dozens of rows of towering servers. Two of those halls are now in operation, while construction that began more than two years ago will continue until 2023, the company said.
This article is originally posted on manufacturing.net