An agreement is now in place to bring an additional 252 megawatts (MW) of solar energy online to serve 16 subscribing cooperatives from across Georgia. The total capacity will be generated across three locations in southern Georgia. Green Power EMC, the renewable energy supplier for 38 Georgia Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs), and Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent solar power producers, partnered on the project.
Silicon Ranch is funding the three utility-scale solar facilities and plans to build them in stages over the next three years. The company will also own, operate, and maintain the arrays for the long-term, a disciplined approach Silicon Ranch takes with every project it develops. Green Power EMC will purchase all the energy and environmental attributes generated by the facilities on behalf of its member cooperatives. This unique procurement model allows participating cooperatives to capture value through economies of scale and source low-cost renewable power to benefit the members and communities they serve.
The first site, Snipesville III, will be a 107 MW solar facility located in Jeff Davis County. Construction is expected to commence later this year, and the facility is scheduled to be operational by mid-2023. The site will be in close proximity to two other cooperative solar projects. Nearby, Silicon Ranch and Green Power EMC commissioned Snipesville I (86 MW) in December 2020. Silicon Ranch completed construction of Snipesville II (107 MW) in December 2021 to provide power to one of Green Power EMC’s member cooperatives, Walton EMC, as part of the utility’s agreement to supply renewable energy to Meta’s data center in Newton County.
The second site in the portfolio, DeSoto II, will be a 65 MW solar facility located in Lee County. Silicon Ranch expects to begin construction in late 2022 and plans to bring the facility online by late 2023. The facility will be built next to DeSoto I, where construction is already underway and, like Snipesville II, the DeSoto I facility will serve Walton EMC to support Meta’s Georgia operations. Governor Brian P. Kemp joined officials from Silicon Ranch, Green Power EMC, Walton EMC, and Lee County for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the project site in October 2021.
The third site, Ailey, will be an 80 MW solar facility located in Montgomery County. Silicon Ranch plans to construct the project in 2024 and projects the facility to be online late that year.
Each of the projects will integrate Silicon Ranch’s Regenerative Energy model, a holistic approach to design, construction, and operations that co-locates solar energy production with regenerative agriculture practices. Once each project is operational, Silicon Ranch will restore its land to a functioning grassland ecosystem, while keeping the site in agricultural production through managed sheep grazing using regenerative pastureland management practices. The innovative approach to land management delivers valuable environmental, social, and economic outcomes above and beyond the significant positive impacts a solar facility alone can produce, creating additional value for the surrounding communities and project stakeholders.