Walton EMC Contracts Another 107 Megawatts of Solar Power for Facebook’s Newton Data Center

Solar development in Georgia continues to grow and boost economy

MONROE, Ga., November 19, 2019 – Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), a consumer-owned utility with a reputation for energy innovation, has signed a contract with Silicon Ranch on behalf of Facebook for a new solar project as part of its agreement to supply 100 percent renewable energy for Facebook’s data center in Newton County, Georgia.

Facebook chose Walton EMC as the power supplier for the Newton Data Center when it announced the facility in March 2018.

The Newton Data Center is Facebook’s ninth such state-of-the-art facility in the country. Facebook’s data centers are among the most advanced, energy-efficient facilities in the world.

On behalf of Facebook and Walton EMC, Silicon Ranch will fund, construct, own, operate and maintain a 107-megawatt (MWac) facility, Snipesville II, in Denton, Georgia, an unincorporated community in Jeff Davis County. Snipesville II will come online in 2021.

The Bancroft Station solar facility, the first built to meet the Newton Data Center's 100 percent renewable energy goal, will begin producing power late this year. The Snipesville II facility will be similar.

The construction phase of the world-class project is expected to support more than 500 jobs, with the vast majority coming from local labor and subcontractors. Additional economic benefits include substantial revenue to Jeff Davis County that supports its school system.

Snipesville II, Silicon Ranch’s largest facility in Georgia, will employ single-axis tracking technology that allows more than 350,000 solar modules to track the sun from east to west.

Silicon Ranch is implementing its trademarked approach to land management called Regenerative Energy™ at the Snipesville II site. This holistic approach keeps the property in agricultural production as adaptively-managed grazing animals, diverse native plants, pollinator habitat and wildlife work together to revitalize degraded soils, enhance biodiversity, make ecosystems more resilient, improve the watershed and sequester carbon in the soil.

The innovative Regenerative Energy™ platform yields quantifiable ecological, economic and social outcomes that are backed by third-party verified standards.

“Silicon Ranch is a proven performer,” said Walton EMC CEO Ronnie Lee. “Their first solar project to supply the Newton Data Center, Bancroft Station, is on time and on budget. We are extremely happy to be working with them again in meeting Facebook’s goal of supporting their data center with 100 percent renewable power.”

“Walton EMC and the Georgia cooperatives are among the most innovative, customer-centric utilities in the country, and we are thrilled to expand our relationship with them and also with Facebook, one of the world’s leaders in renewable energy procurement,” said Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and CEO Reagan Farr. “Moreover, we are proud to continue our substantial investments in rural Georgia and look forward to growing our partnership with Jeff Davis County.”

“We are excited to be partnering with Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch once again to bring additional solar energy to the Georgia grid,” said Urvi Parekh, Head of Renewable Energy at Facebook. “This new project will provide additional investment in rural Georgia, help us reach our goal of 100% renewable energy for all of our operations, and further strengthen the solar market in the region.”

Snipesville II at a glance

Power for: Facebook Newton Data Center
Location: Denton, Georgia in Jeff Davis County
Size (electrical): 107 MW (AC)
Solar modules: more than 350,000 single-axis tracking
Expected Completion: 2021
Jobs created: construction – 500; operation and maintenance ­– two to three plus local ranchers, farmers and electrical contractors
Unique aspects: Regenerative Energy™ keeps land in agricultural production; project places Jeff Davis County among top solar communities

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About Walton EMC

Walton EMC is a customer-owned power company that serves accounts over its 10-county service area between Atlanta and Athens, Ga. Its primary focus is providing exceptional service to its 130,000 residential, commercial and industrial customer-owner accounts while also caring for the area’s communities.

About Silicon Ranch Corporation

Silicon Ranch is the U.S. solar platform for Shell and one of the largest independent solar power producers in the country. Silicon Ranch’s work with a diverse set of customers across the country, including Fortune 500 companies and electric cooperatives, demonstrates its ability to customize solutions that ensure successful outcomes. The company’s operating portfolio includes more than 125 facilities across 14 states from New York to California, including the first large-scale solar projects in Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi.  Silicon Ranch pioneered utility-scale solar in Georgia and is today a recognized market leader, with more than 1 Gigawatt across the state.

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