The power for the datacentres will come from new 150MW solar farms in Yum Yum, Tennessee and Hollywood in northern Alabama as part of a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and are the largest solar farms ever to be built for Google.
Powering data centres is a key challenge for the large providers. TVA’s development partners —NextEra Energy Resources and Invenergy — will hire hundreds of workers in the region. To date, Google's more than 30 long-term contract commitments to purchase renewable energy have resulted in nearly $5 billion in investment worldwide.
The deployment of the 1.6 million solar panels means approximately 72 percent of the data centre electricity use in Alabama and Tennessee will be matched on an hourly basis with carbon-free sources, compared to 48 percent carbon free for the mainstream grid at the moment.