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The Tennessee Valley Authority is partnering with Facebook and Google to supply the companies with renewable energy in the form of solar panel farms.
The Facebook data center in Huntsville will be powered by future solar farms in Colbert County and Lincoln County, Tennessee. Google will be getting their power from solar farms in Jackson County Alabama and Fayette County, Tennessee.
The solar farm in Colbert County will be 227 megawatts. The other three will have about 150 megawatts a piece.
Currently, Lauderdale County is home to the largest solar farm. TVA and NextEra Engery's Riverbend solar farm spans some 640 acres and can produce over 400 megawatts. It took NextEra Energy about two years to build the solar farm and local businesses said during that time, their business increased.
"It tripled. It tripled big time," said Katina Smith, who works at D&D Quick Mart, which is right down the road from the solar farm in Lauderdale County. "We went from doing two pans to six pans of biscuits in the morning. All through the day for lunch, they would all come in here and it was a mad house at times."
Smith said the trickle down effect of TVA building the solar farm in Lauderdale County made more people stop in at the store she works at.
"So many people had good jobs and when they were finished, they were able to go other places and work too. I thought it was a really good thing," said Smith.
TVA officials said by partnering with big companies like Facebook and Google to create these solar farms as a source of renewable energy, it could attract additional industries to the area.
TVA also said electric bills will not go down because they are adding these solar farms. They said the solar farms help diversify their energy portfolio, so they can offer the lowest possible rates already.
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