Data centers leased by Facebook from Digital Realty in North Carolina will be powered by roughly 80 megawatts of solar power. That’s thanks to a new virtual power-purchase agreement (PPA) that allows Facebook to pay for the power and recoup the benefits of the clean energy.
The leasing firm said it’s “the first back-to-back utility-scale renewable energy transaction between a data center provider landlord utilizing a virtual power purchase agreement to underpin the renewable energy supply dedicated to a customer.” The agreement will allow Facebook, rather than Digital Realty to claim all of the renewable energy certificates and other environmental claims that the solar power produces.
"Our scale and position as a leader in data center sustainability enabled us to execute this first of its kind agreement in support of Facebook's sustainability goals," said Digital Realty Chief Executive Officer A. William Stein. "Many of our customers have specific renewable energy requirements, and we work diligently to provide cost-competitive solutions tailored to their needs. We were able to take Facebook's quality standards and timeline into consideration and deliver this solution in a competitive marketplace and at a competitive price. We are very pleased to be part of the solution enabling Facebook to achieve its renewable energy goals."
Large tech companies have led the way in new and interesting ways to source clean energy, which has led to an explosion in growth in some areas that didn’t have a high concentration of solar power. For instance, Google’s Green Source Rider Program allowed it to pay for renewable energy projects built by utilities without impacting other rate payers and for Google to recoup the benefits.
In this case, Digital Realty contracted with SunEnergy1, which developed and owns and operates the solar project that will supply the facilities. The project will be located in Virginia Electric and Power Co.’s North Carolina service area.
"Facebook is committed to supporting all of its operations with 100% renewable energy and to improving overall access to renewable markets," said Bobby Hollis, Director of Global Energy and Site Selection at Facebook. "We are thrilled Digital Realty has entered into this agreement and hope this will serve as a model for other colocation customers seeking to support their operations with high-quality, renewable energy projects."
Such agreements are likely, new research shows, as industry observers anticipate corporate purchases of renewable energy are likely to increase in 2019 particularly.Tweet