Google using new Tennessee solar farm to power facilities, including data center

TVA / On Tuesday, political and business leaders flipped the switch on Skyhawk Solar, a new 100 megawatt solar farm in Obion County, Tennessee. From left are Kathleen Campanella of Excelsior Energy Capital; Ed Jackson III of the staff of U.S. Rep. David Kustoff; Mark Yates of the Tennessee Valley Authority; Nick Kistenmacher from the office of U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn; Christopher Moakley of Excelsior; Thomas Gamble of Google; Johan Vanhee of Origis Energy; and Ryan Kelley of Wanzek Construction Inc.
TVA / On Tuesday, political and business leaders flipped the switch on Skyhawk Solar, a new 100 megawatt solar farm in Obion County, Tennessee. From left are Kathleen Campanella of Excelsior Energy Capital; Ed Jackson III of the staff of U.S. Rep. David Kustoff; Mark Yates of the Tennessee Valley Authority; Nick Kistenmacher from the office of U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn; Christopher Moakley of Excelsior; Thomas Gamble of Google; Johan Vanhee of Origis Energy; and Ryan Kelley of Wanzek Construction Inc.


Google is turning to the sun to power its data centers and is using a new solar farm in West Tennessee to supply the green energy for its facilities in the Tennessee Valley, including its $600 million data center near Bridgeport, Alabama.

Representatives from Google and the builders of a new 100-megawatt solar array — Origis Energy and Excelsior Energy Capital — celebrated Tuesday the completion of the Skyhawk Solar project near the Stewart Regional Airport in Obion County, Tennessee.

Origis Energy developed and constructed the project under the Green Invest program offered by the Tennessee Valley Authority, which allows power customers to get all their electricity from renewable sources by paying the costs of the solar-generated power. Google operates a data center nearby in Montgomery County, in addition to its data center on TVA's abandoned Widow's Creek Fossil Plant in Bridgeport, Alabama.

"Skyhawk demonstrates what is possible when we come together with a shared vision to use low cost, clean, reliable, renewable energy to drive jobs and investments into the communities we serve," Doug Perry, senior vice president of TVA Commercial Energy Solutions, said in a news release. "Together with our partners, we are building the nation's most advanced energy system to help us meet our decarbonization and energy security goals."

To power its data center campuses in the Southeast, Google has purchased 413 megawatts of power generated by multiple solar farms within TVA territory.

One of the Google data centers powered by Skyhawk Solar is on TVA's Widows Creek retired coal plant site in North Alabama. The Google facility is believed to be the first data center to be located on a repurposed coal generation site.

"This Skyhawk Solar project is critical in our progress towards Google's 24/7 carbon-free energy goal in Tennessee and Alabama," Thomas Gamble, the data center facilities manager at Google, said in a statement Tuesday.

Johan Vanhee, chief commercial and procurement officer for Origis Energy, estimates the new solar farm will pump $31 million into the local economy

"Origis is proud to be part of Skyhawk Solar, a clean energy project helping to fulfill TVA and Google decarbonization goals while contributing significant economic benefits to local communities for decades to come," he said in a statement Tuesday.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

  photo  File Photo / The Google data center in Jackson County, Ala., is showing in this 2019 photo.
 
 


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