Partners have now completed six projects for Meta, with construction of a seventh facility underway in Lee County
MONROE, GA (Dec. 15, 2021) – Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), a consumer-owned utility with a reputation for energy innovation, and Silicon Ranch, one of the nation’s largest independent power producers, announced today that three new utility-scale solar facilities are now generating carbon-free renewable energy to help support Meta’s (formerly the Facebook company) operations in Georgia.
More than 1,200 people, the majority of whom were hired from the local region and military veteran community, completed the facilities on schedule, a feat Silicon Ranch has accomplished with every project it has contracted since the company was founded in 2011. The three projects total 287 megawatts (MWAC) of solar generation and are located in three different counties in the southwestern and southeastern parts of the state. Silicon Ranch funded the construction and will own, operate, and maintain the arrays, a disciplined approach the company takes with every project it develops.
Silicon Ranch partnered with IEA to construct the 100 MWAC Lumpkin Solar Farm, located in Stewart County, and McCarthy Building Companies to build the 80 MWAC Lancaster Solar Farm in Colquitt County, as well as the 107 MWAC Snipesville II Solar Farm in Jeff Davis County.
The solar facilities are part of an ongoing collaboration between Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch to supply 100 percent renewable energy for Meta’s data center in Newton County, Georgia. Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch have now completed the installation of six projects totaling 435 MWAC on behalf of Meta, catalyzing meaningful investments in six separate rural communities across the state.
With the first six solar projects now in commercial operation, Silicon Ranch has begun construction of the partners’ seventh project together, the DeSoto I Solar Farm, a 125 MWAC facility located in Lee County. In October, state and local officials joined Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch to break ground on the facility, and Silicon Ranch plans to hire more than 400 craft workers to build the project before the end of 2022. Once complete, DeSoto I will bring the total capacity of the partners’ portfolio to 560 MWAC of new renewable generation in Georgia.
“In 2018, Meta, Morgan Stanley, and Walton EMC came together to design a landmark energy supply agreement for Meta’s Newton Data Center, and over the past three years we have worked shoulder to shoulder with Silicon Ranch to honor the commitments we made,” said Walton EMC CEO Ronnie Lee. “The past two years especially have introduced unprecedented challenges, including a pandemic and severe disruptions to the global supply chain, and so on behalf of our Board of Directors and the entire team at Walton EMC, I want to express our sincere appreciation to Silicon Ranch for their steadfast dedication to deliver these world-class facilities right on schedule.”
“Silicon Ranch is honored by the confidence and trust that Walton EMC and Meta continue to place in our company to execute on their behalf, and we thank all the men and women at IEA, McCarthy, and Georgia Transmission Corporation who supported our efforts and helped us continue this important economic development work across the state of Georgia,” said Silicon Ranch Co-Founder and CEO Reagan Farr.“Walton EMC’s customer-centric approach has supported Meta’s meaningful investments in Georgia, and Silicon Ranch has now invested more than half a billion dollars across half a dozen counties to help our partners meet their renewable energy goals, a legacy we are pleased to expand in Lee County over the next twelve months.”
“We are thrilled that these new solar projects are now online and will help us continue to meet our goal of supporting our data center in Newton County with 100 percent renewable energy,” said Urvi Parekh, head of Renewable Energy at Meta. “We thank Silicon Ranch and Walton EMC for their continued partnership, for their dedication to successful execution, and for sharing our commitment to have a positive impact on the communities where we locate.”
Each project in the portfolio, including the facility under construction in Lee County, will integrate Silicon Ranch’s transformative Regenerative Energy® model, a holistic approach to design, construction, and operations that co-locates renewable energy production with regenerative agriculture practices. The innovative platform delivers valuable environmental, social, and economic outcomes above and beyond the significant positive impacts a solar facility alone can generate, creating additional value for the surrounding communities and project stakeholders. Through managed sheep grazing using regenerative pastureland management practices, Silicon Ranch restores the land housing each array to a functioning grassland ecosystem, while keeping each site in agricultural production.