Google's North Carolina server farm to run on solar power from Duke Energy

Google plans to offset the huge amounts of electricity it uses to run its North Carolina server farm with solar power under a new programme that allows corporations to voluntarily pay more for renewable energy.

According to Google, it would buy the power from Charlotte-based Duke Energy, which will source it from a new Rutherford County solar farm.

Google did not say how much of electricity used by it's Caldwell County server farm would be offset by the 61 megawatt solar project.

According to Duke, Google was the first to use a new programme allowing its large customers to buy renewable energy from the utility.

In one of the largest solar projects undertaken in North Carolina, Google will benefit from Duke Energy Carolinas' Green Source Rider program meeting a portion of the power demand from the company's data center in Lenoir with solar energy.

A 61-megawatt solar project will be constructed in Rutherford County in Duke Energy Carolinas' service territory. Under a power purchase agreement with the Rutherford Farms, LLC, solar project, Duke Energy will secure power to meet  new energy demand from Google's expanded data center.

"Google was a driver behind Duke Energy seeking approval for the Green Source Rider," said Rob Caldwell, senior vice president, Distributed Energy Resources. "Having Google as the first company to publicly announce its participation is extremely satisfying. We believe this will lead to similar announcements in the future."

Enrollment in the Green Source Rider means Google will use renewable energy sources for a portion of the energy supplied to its expanded data center in the city of Lenoir. Under the program, Duke Energy and Google agreed on the specific project and additional costs associated with energy from the facility. Other Duke Energy customers will not pay for the project.

"We've agreed to purchase 1.2 gigawatts of renewable power globally and we're working to power 100 per cent of our operations with renewables. As we pursue that goal, this is a really big moment for us and we're thrilled to have created this program with Duke Energy," said Gary Demasi, Google's head of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy. "Not only does it enable us to purchase renewable energy for our North Carolina operations, it will empower others in the state to do the same."