Meta will power its new Mesa, Arizona data center with solar power and battery storage generated at a nearby renewable project due to go online next year.
The social media giant's 2.5 million square-foot Mesa facility will offtake most of the power expected to be created from the Eleven Mile Solar Center. Orsted is currently developing and building the 300-MW solar and 300 MW-four-hour battery energy storage system in Pinal County, some 40 miles from the Mesa data center.
The interconnection deal is through utility Salt River Project (SRP).
“Access to renewable energy and a strong, reliable grid were an important part of our decision to build in Mesa," said Urvi Parekh, Meta's Head of Renewable Energy. "Meta is committed to having a positive impact on local communities and we're excited to help bring this additional investment and jobs to the area."
Meta's Mesa data center is the company's 14th such project in the U.S. Contractors on it include DPR Construction and Burns & McDonnell.
The energy demand explosion from new data centers, including cloud-based and artificial intelligence systems, is accelerating an argument to build more microgrids and on-site or nearby renewable energy systems to match the growing load.
Expected to be operational in 2024, Eleven Mile Solar Center is located on over 2,000 acres and will be the largest solar-plus-battery project on SRP's power grid. The solar and BESS are projected to generate $89 million in tax revenue over its 30-year estimated lifetime, benefiting the local school districts, the cities of Coolidge and Eloy, and Pinal County.
The project is projected to generate more than 900,000 MWh of energy annually, enough to power nearly 64,000 homes. The solar and stored energy not needed by Meta's data center will be available for SRP customers to utilize.
"The Eleven Mile Solar Center is Ørsted's first project in Arizona. We are pleased to partner with SRP to deliver clean, affordable power to their customers, including companies like Meta that are prioritizing sustainability," said James Giamarino, Chief Commercial Officer, Americas at Ørsted. "Ørsted is proud to help meet the growing demand for renewable energy in Arizona, provide grid flexibility to SRP through one of the largest battery energy storage systems in the U.S., and partner with innovative companies that share our vision for a clean energy future."
In addition to this project, Meta will also receive an allocation of 50 MW from the 100 MW West Line Solar Facility in Eloy, as well as a portion of the solar energy from the 200 MW Brittlebush Solar Facility in Coolidge, which is expected to be online in 2024.
In total, these projects will help further enable Meta to reach its 100% renewable energy and net zero goals.
Track news about microgrids. Subscribe to the free Microgrid Knowledge Newsletter.