Google announced this morning that some of the largest-ever solar panel projects in both Alabama and Tennessee are underway, and they’re being built to power Google data centers in each state.
In fact, Google says that these two plants are the largest solar farms ever built for Google. Combined, they’ll generate up to 413 megawatts of electricity at peak — the “combined size of 65,000 home rooftop solar systems.” Per the Times Free Press report:
Collectively, the two solar energy companies will put up 1.6 million solar panels on the two parcels, representing the biggest solar installation in both Tennessee and Alabama and the largest solar farms ever built for Google. Combined, the two new facilities will be capable of generating up to 413 megawatts of electricity at peak periods from the sun.
The Alabama farm is 150 megawatts and will be built in Hollywood, Alabama by NextEra Energy Resources to power the nearby data center that Google broke ground on in April of last year. NextEra will sell the power to the Tennessee Valley Authority to power the data center, as Google mentioned in its blog post:
In the coming years, Google will purchase the output of several new solar farms as part of a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), totaling 413 megawatts of power from 1.6 million solar panels—that’s equivalent to the combined size of 65,000 home rooftop solar systems.
Yum Yum, Tennessee will also host a separate solar farm, built by Invenergy, which will supply power to a future Google center in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Google notes that the benefits of these deals aren’t limited to just Google meeting its long-stated goal of powering all its operations with renewable energy. This means more carbon-free energy on the electric grid, and plenty of economic advantages to the surrounding regions as well.
TVA’s developer partners—NextEra Energy Resources and Invenergy—will hire hundreds of workers in the region, make long-term lease payments to property owners, and generate millions of dollars in economic activity and tax revenue for the broader community.
Google published a report in October 2018 outlining its plans and progress toward making all its data centers powered by renewable energy.