A 70-megawatt solar facility in Tennessee that will help Facebook parent Meta’s operations in the area receive renewable energy has broken ground.
The McKellar Solar Farm is part of an effort between the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Meta, Jackson Energy Authority (JEA) and Silicon Ranch. The project was first revealed in August 2020 and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. It will have interconnection to the TVA grid facilitated by the JEA distribution system.
Nashville-based Silicon Ranch will fund, own and operate the McKellar Solar Farm and will invest up to $90 million to build the facility. JEA says it is the largest solar project in its service area.
The facility is also part of TVA’s Green Invest program, which helps organizations and businesses like Meta with sustainable energy projects in the area. TVA has invested $3 billion to bring more than 2,000 MW of solar energy to its service area since 2018.
Meta, which said last year it was using 100% renewable energy throughout its operations and had reached net zero, continues adding renewable projects to support its sustainability goals. Earlier this year it executed a power purchase agreement for 225 MW wind project in Iowa.
Meta currently has 55 utility scale wind and solar projects in eighteen states. Those projects represent more than 5,700 MW of energy off of an investment of more than $4.2 billion.
The projects help facilitate the company’s operations growth, which includes building large and energy efficient data centers across the country. Recently Meta unveiled plans for new data centers in Idaho and Missouri.
Silicon Ranch, which has aided a boom in corporate funding of solar projects, recently helped add 252 MW of solar in Georgia and has previously partnered with Meta to supply renewable energy to its data center operations in that state. Meta also says it is currently developing more than 850 MW of solar energy with TVA.
TVA says nearly 60% of its electricity is generated from carbon-free renewable sources. The utility plans to add 10,000 MW of solar with a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2035.