Tech giant Google is acquiring the output of 1.6 million solar panels to power two new data center campuses in the Southeastern U.S., one in Tennessee and another in northern Alabama. Both campuses’ solar panels will be able to generate around 150 megawatts each and will be the largest solar farms ever to be developed for Google.
Google will buy the production of various new solar farms as part of a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority for a total of 413 megawatts of power from 1.6 million solar panels that are equivalent of 65,000 home rooftop solar systems. The two biggest solar farms, located in Hollywood, Alabama and Yum Yum, Tennessee, will be able to generate around 150 megawatts each to be built for Google. The search engine giant stated that the solar power produced by these new farms will mean that the electricity utilized by the Tennessee and Alabama data centers, both declared last year and currently under development, will be met with renewable energy from launch. Further, the company noted that about 72 percent of the company’s data center electricity use in Alabama and Tennessee will be matched on an hourly basis with carbon-free sources-compared to a status-quo regional grid mix that is 48 percent carbon-free. Google, 7 years ago in 2012, said that it intended to acquire enough renewable energy to meet 100 percent of its operations and now the company has become a world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy.
The tech giant’s operations rely on enormous amounts of electricity; in 2015, it consumed 5.7 terawatt-hours of electricity over all of its services, nearly the same as San Francisco consumed in the same year. The company, in 2017, acquired over 7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, approximately as much as is consumed annually by the state of Rhode Island, from solar and wind farms that were developed specially for it.