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31 May 2019

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

First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA – which makes thin-film photovoltaic modules based on cadmium telluride (CdTe) as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services – says 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 122MWAC facility will be built near the town of Enterprise in Iron County, Utah, and also near the 58MWAC Cove Mountain power plant (which was announced in 2018 and will also supply renewable energy for Facebook’s operations). Scheduled to begin operations in 2020, Cove Mountain 2 will supply 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.

“This project is an important part of our commitment to support all of our data centers and offices with 100% renewable energy in 2020,” says Paul Clements, Facebook’s director of energy & infrastructure. “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,” he adds.

Once operational, Cove Mountain 2 is expected to generate electricity 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.

“Cove Mountain 2 demonstrates the ability of utility-scale solar to power corporate renewable energy ambitions effectively,” says Karl Brutsaert, First Solar’s senior director of corporate renewables. “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,” he adds.

The project will be powered by Series 6 modules, made by First Solar in the USA. The firm expects to begin construction in late 2019 and estimates that Cove Mountain Solar and Cove Mountain 2 Solar will generate about 450 construction jobs on average, and up to 1100 jobs at the peak of activity.

“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,” says Kathryn Arbeit, VP of project development for First Solar. “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,” she adds.

Tags: First Solar Thin-film photovoltaic CdTe

Visit: www.firstsolar.com

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