The Bancroft Station project highlights Silicon Ranch’s community-minded approach to solar farm implementation and its positive effect on the surrounding area. Local Early County leaders discuss feeling like they were well-involved in the process, having input throughout, and witnessing the dedication of the team. Members of the community continue to benefit from Silicon Ranch’s contribution of scholarships, donations, and overall support. Hear community members’ firsthand accounts of their experience with Silicon Ranch and project implementation.
Facebook’s first solar project in Georgia stimulates economic development across the state.
Facebook chose Walton EMC as the power supplier for its data center in Newton County when it announced the facility in March 2018. As part of its agreement to supply 100 percent renewable energy for the Newton Data Center, Walton EMC announced a contract in December 2018 with Silicon Ranch.
The resulting solar project has yielded tangible economic benefits across the state. To support Facebook’s data center and corresponding investments in Newton County, Silicon Ranch employed more than 675 people in Early County over a period of ten months to assemble and install single-axis trackers that utilize NextTracker’s TrueCapture smart control system, enabling more than 350,000 solar modules to track the sun from east to west across more than 1,200 acres. The locally-sourced modules were among the first produced by Hanwha Q CELLS at its new manufacturing facility in Whitfield County, which is the largest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.
The solar farm is Silicon Ranch’s first new-build site to incorporate its holistic approach to land management, which it has trademarked as Regenerative EnergyTM. The innovative approach keeps the property in agricultural production, as adaptively-managed grazing livestock, diverse plant life, pollinator habitat, and wildlife work together to revitalize degraded soils, enhance biodiversity, make ecosystems more resilient, improve the watershed, and sequester carbon in the soil. Quantifiable ecological, economic, and social outcomes are backed by third-party verified standards.
“We are committed to supporting all of Facebook’s operations with 100% renewable energy, and we are thrilled that this new solar project will help us meet that goal for our Newton Data Center,” said Urvi Parekh, Head of Renewable Energy at Facebook. “We thank Silicon Ranch and Walton EMC for their continued partnership and for sharing our commitment to have a positive impact on the communities where we locate.”
As a tribute to the history of Early County, the project team has named the facility the Bancroft Station Solar Farm in honor of the original name of the local area.
“Less than two years ago, Facebook, Morgan Stanley, and Walton EMC came together to design a landmark energy supply arrangement for Facebook’s Newton Data Center, and today marks an important milestone toward honoring the commitments we made. On behalf of our Board of Directors and the entire team at Walton EMC, I want to express our sincere appreciation to Silicon Ranch for their steadfast dedication to deliver this world-class facility right on schedule.”
-Ronnie Lee, CEO, Walton EMC
Regenerative Energy™ at Bancroft Station Solar Farm
Silicon Ranch is committed to better solar farms and a healthier planet. Through our Regenerative Energy™ program, we help communities generate clean solar electricity and healthy soil and food. Regenerative Energy™ keeps solar farm land in agricultural production. To deliver Regenerative Energy™, Silicon Ranch partners with regenerative ranchers and local farmers to use holistic agriculture practices on solar farms. These practices remove carbon from the atmosphere, enrich the soil, improve air and water quality, and increase biodiversity. Regenerative Energy™ leads to restored natural resources and overall stronger ecosystems while creating additional high value long-term jobs.
Thanks to Regenerative EnergyTM land management practices, the Bancroft Station Solar Farm will be kept in agricultural production, as it initiated select Regenerative Energy™ practices in 2019.