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Company builds massive solar farm deep in desert to help power Meta social media platforms: 'Transforming local economies'

The company expects this project to contribute "tens of millions of dollars" in tax revenue to the economy.

The company expects this project to contribute "tens of millions of dollars" in tax revenue to the economy.

Photo Credit: iStock

Danish innovators are at work on a solar power enterprise on 2,000 acres in Pinal County, Arizona. Fascinatingly, the project just might energize your social media use sometime soon, as Facebook parent company Meta is going to be a main destination for the electricity, powering a nearby data center. 

It's a unique mingling of solar generation and storage on one site, set to go online this year, according to reports from developer Ørsted and euronews.green. 

The site includes 857,000 solar panels and 2,000 shipping-container-sized batteries. The setup will produce enough electricity for more than 52,000 homes a year, according to the company. 

It's more evidence of solar energy growth, which is needed as we transform our energy system to planet-friendly sources. Renewables already account for 20% of the country's power generation. The sun is being harnessed for 3.4% of the cleaner electricity mix, all per the U.S. Department of Energy. 

Storage is crucial to a successful rollout of the operations. Since renewable power — often coming from the wind and sun — is intermittent, it's important to be able to save the juice for later use. 

"Solar farms only produce when the sun shines, and the turbines only produce when the wind blows," Ørsted CEO Mads Nipper said in the euronews story. "For us to maximize the availability of the green power, 24/7, we have to store some of it, too."

Sun power gathered in the day, for example, can be used during peak evening hours, sometimes referred to as a "duck curve," as the profile of the usage chart resembles the fowl. Evening demand spikes to form the head of the duck on a CNET visualization. Tesla, Yotta, and Nostromo are among other companies using lithium-ion, unique design concepts and even ice to couple solar arrays and storage systems. 

Ørsted's Eleven Mile Solar Center in Arizona is touted by the company as being able to store energy for up to four hours. 

The Danish company operates similar facilities in Alabama and Texas, delivering renewable power to 100,000 homes. Euronews reported that extra energy unused by Meta in the Grand Canyon State will go to the grid. 

🗣️ Would you work for a company that doesn't have a sustainability strategy?

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🔘 Only if the pay is good 💰

🔘 Only if I couldn't find another job 🏢

🔘 Only if the company is working to develop a plan 📝

🗳️ Click your choice to see results and speak your mind

The good news is that you don't have to be a social media juggernaut to enjoy the cost- and planet-saving benefits of renewable energy. Community solar programs make it easy to participate. As a result, you could save 15% on your electric bill and prevent 8,500 pounds of air pollution a year.  

The benefits extend beyond household budgets. Our food system is more sustainable when planet overheating can be reduced. Warming oceans, for instance, threaten crucial fish species. 

Other community-wide perks can be realized as well. In Arizona, Ørsted expects Eleven Mile to contribute "tens of millions of dollars" in tax revenue to the economy. 

"We are delivering affordable, clean energy and transforming local economies across the U.S.," the company states on its website. 

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