Six weeks after pledging to “ensure that every part of our state has access to opportunity” in his first State of the State address, Gov. Brian P. Kemp, R-Georgia, has announced a significant capital investment in rural southwest Georgia through new solar projects.
Silicon Ranch Corp., the U.S. solar platform for Shell, has committed to invest approximately $150 million in three solar projects in Early County.
The first of Silicon Ranch’s three projects – a 102.5 MW solar farm built in partnership with Walton EMC to help support Facebook’s data center in Newton County – is already under construction in Blakely.
Silicon Ranch will hire more than 400 craft workers for the 10-month construction project – the majority of whom are being recruited from the local community and surrounding region, the governor notes. In addition, Silicon Ranch will power the facility with more than 355,000 solar modules sourced locally from Hanwha Q CELLS’ new manufacturing facility in Whitfield County.
“While metro-Atlanta and other urban areas continue to grow and thrive, we have work to do in rural Georgia. We must create a bright and promising future for all Georgians – regardless of zip code,” Kemp says. “Through strategic partnerships with private-sector leaders like Silicon Ranch, our electric cooperatives have made great strides as economic development engines for local communities across Georgia.”
He adds, “This innovative project will result in Georgia-made products providing energy in Georgia communities to power Georgia homes and Georgia businesses.”
The power generated from Silicon Ranch’s two other solar farms in Early County will be sold to Green Power EMC and provide solar energy to more than 30 EMCs across the state.
Silicon Ranch’s co-founder and CEO, Matt Kisber, says that Georgia’s electric cooperatives are well-positioned to make renewable energy a cornerstone of their economic development strategy.
“Green Power EMC and Walton EMC are nimble, creative and customer-centric utilities that share a sense of duty to the members and communities that they serve,” says Kisber. “Silicon Ranch is honored to partner with them and Facebook, and we thank the Early County Board of Commissioners and the Early County Development Authority for making this investment possible.”