Meta has announced that its Mesa data centre will soon be supported by new solar energy from Salt River Project (SRP) through a contract with leading U.S. clean energy provider Ørsted. Under the contract, Meta will receive the majority portion of the solar energy generated by Ørsted’s Eleven Mile Solar Centre, a 300-MW solar farm and 300-MW, four-hour battery energy storage system currently under construction in Pinal County, Arizona.
Once online in 2024, this will be the largest solar-plus-battery project on SRP’s power grid, and one of the largest battery energy storage systems built in a single phase in the U.S. The solar and stored energy not needed by the Meta data centre will be available to SRP’s customer base.
In addition to this newly announced project, Meta will also receive an allocation of 50 MW from the 100-MW West Line Solar Facility, which opened earlier this year in Eloy and will soon receive a portion of solar energy from the 200-MW Brittlebush Solar Facility in Coolidge, which is expected to be online in 2024. These projects will each further enable Meta to reach its 100 percent renewable energy and net zero goals.
“We are proud to partner with SRP to bring new solar energy to the grid. Access to renewable energy and a strong, reliable grid were an important part of our decision to build in Mesa,” said Urvi Parekh, Meta’s Head of Renewable Energy. “Meta is committed to having a positive impact on local communities and we’re excited to help bring this additional investment and jobs to the area.”
“SRP is pleased to partner with Meta to add more solar to help meet Meta’s renewable energy goals and SRP’s sustainability commitments,” said Bobby Olsen, Chief Planning, Strategy and Sustainability Executive at SRP. “As SRP focuses on responsibly decarbonising our generation mix, we will need to more than double our power resource capacity by 2035. Strategic partnerships with customers like Meta and renewable energy developers like Ørsted help us get there.”
“The Eleven Mile Solar Centre is Ørsted’s first project in Arizona. We are pleased to partner with SRP to deliver clean, affordable power to their customers, including companies like Meta that are prioritising sustainability,” said James Giamarino, Chief Commercial Officer, Americas at Ørsted. “Ørsted is proud to help meet the growing demand for renewable energy in Arizona, provide grid flexibility to SRP through one of the largest battery energy storage systems in the U.S., and partner with innovative companies that share our vision for a clean energy future.”
Eleven Mile Solar Centre is currently under construction and is expected to be operational in 2024. Located on over 2,000 acres, the solar and battery energy storage system is estimated to generate $89 million in tax revenue over its lifetime, which will benefit the local school districts, the cities of Coolidge and Eloy, and Pinal County. The project has boosted the local economy through the creation of over 300 construction jobs. Ørsted is actively developing renewable energy projects in over 15 states, with a portfolio of 5.7 GW currently operating or under construction across the United States.
Eleven Mile’s storage capacity will contribute to the more than 1,100 MW of large-scale batteries that will be online on SRP’s system by the end of 2024. This announcement follows SRP’s recent Integrated System Plan (ISP) adoption, which incorporated community and customer perspectives to develop a reliable, affordable and sustainable plan to meet growing demand.
SRP’s plan prepares to add 7,000 MW of new renewable resources, which includes 6,000 MW of new, large-scale solar resources by 2035.