First Solar’s 122MW Cove Mountain 2 solar plant to power Facebook data center in Utah

First Solar, Inc. announced that its Cove Mountain 2 solar power plant will support Facebook’s Eagle Mountain Data Center in Utah, through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Rocky Mountain Power, a division of PacifiCorp and part of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

The 122-megawatt (MW)AC facility will be built near the town of Enterprise in Iron County, Utah, and is scheduled to begin operations in 2020. It will be constructed near the 58MWAC Cove Mountain power plant, which was announced in 2018 and will also supply renewable energy for Facebook’s operations.

Cove Mountain 2 will supply clean solar energy to Facebook under the Schedule 34 Renewable Energy Tariff, which enables customers to work with Rocky Mountain Power to meet their renewable energy goals by facilitating the construction and contracting of new renewable energy projects.

Paul Clements, Director of Energy and Infrastructure at Facebook said:

“This project is an important part of our commitment to support all of our data centers and offices with 100 percent renewable energy in 2020. Our data centers are among the most water- and energy-efficient facilities in the world. Working with First Solar and Rocky Mountain Power allows us to ensure that our data center will be supported by new renewable energy resources – like this solar power plant – in the same electrical grid as our data center.”

Gary Hoogeveen, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain Power said:

“Rocky Mountain Power continues to develop creative ways to help individual customers such as Facebook meet their sustainability goals while keeping rates low and reliability high for all of our customers. Combining First Solar’s project development and technology expertise with over a hundred years of Rocky Mountain Power’s utility experience, allows us to create value for Facebook by enabling its commitment to support its operations with 100 percent renewable energy.”

Once operational, Cove Mountain 2 is expected to generate electricity that is equivalent to the energy needs of 36,000 average Utah homes, while displacing 235,000 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide annually, equivalent to removing 46,000 cars from the road. It will also save 800 million liters of water annually, based on Utah averages.

Karl Brutsaert, Senior Director of Corporate Renewables at First Solar said:

“Cove Mountain 2 demonstrates the ability of utility-scale solar to power corporate renewable energy ambitions effectively. Combining the commercial and environmental efficiencies of utility-scale solar with a green tariff PPA model allows companies like Facebook to meet their decarbonization commitments while making smart economic decisions. As a global leader in corporate solar, we’re proud to be a driver of this trend.”

The project will be powered by high-performance Series 6 modules, manufactured by First Solar in the United States. First Solar expects to begin construction in late-2019 and estimates that Cove Mountain Solar and Cove Mountain 2 Solar will generate approximately 450 construction jobs on average, and up to 1,100 jobs at the peak of activity.

Kathryn Arbeit, Vice President of Project Development for First Solar said:

“Cove Mountain and Cove Mountain 2 demonstrate Utah’s ability to attract new long-term business partners to the State through Rocky Mountain Power’s green tariff initiative. Iron County’s decision to incentivize solar development in portions of rural Utah has positioned it as a leader in solar energy and will generate several million dollars in tax revenues for the county. As an American solar manufacturer, we are proud to be playing a role in generating jobs and enabling a local resource pool of professionals skilled in constructing utility-scale solar power plants here in Utah.”

Source: Press Release by First Solar. Photo Credit: © Facebook.