Lancaster Solar Farm in Colquitt County

Lancaster Solar Farm (80MWAC) in Colquitt County achieved commercial operation this week.

Credit: Photo courtesy Silicon Ranch

A Georgia utility is working with one of the nation’s largest independent power producers to bring utility-scale solar energy projects to Georgia.

Walton Electric Membership Corp. (EMC), and Nashville, Tenn.-based Silicon Ranch Corp. announced Wednesday they have three new solar farms up and running in Stewart, Colquitt and Jeff Davis counties.

Together, the three facilities are generating 287 megawatts of solar energy, enough to provide 100% of the power needs for a data center in Newton County operated by Facebook, which recently changed its corporate name to Meta.

The three projects created more than 1,200 construction jobs. Silicon Ranch funded the construction and will own, operate and maintain the solar arrays.

Altogether, Walton EMC and Silicon Ranch now have six solar farms operating in Georgia. Construction began in October on a seventh in Lee County.

“Silicon Ranch has now invested more than half a billion dollars across half a dozen counties to help our partners meet their renewable energy goals, a legacy we are pleased to expand in Lee County over the next 12 months,” said Reagan Farr, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Ranch.

Each solar project, including the facility under construction in Lee County, will use an innovative model developed by Silicon Ranch that co-locates renewable energy projects with sustainable agricultural practices.

The company employs grazing sheep to help restore the land housing each solar array to functioning grassland, while keeping each site in farm production.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.