40,000 solar panels are suspended over fish ponds to maximize land use
Data Center Dynamics
Date: January 29, 2019
By: Paul Mah
Google has signed a deal to buy the output of a 10MW solar array in Tainan City, Taiwan.
It’s Google’s first renewable energy contract in Asia, and the Taiwanese government has changed energy laws to allow it to proceed.
Google’s data center at Changhua County, Taiwan, was opened in 2013 costing around $600m, with another $66.4m invested in 2015. The solar purchase is certainly smaller than the power used by the data center (similar sized data centers in the US are understood to use arouind 60MW) but will give Google a more stable long-term price for electricity, and reduce its carbon emissions in Taiwan.
Worldwide, Google purchases more than 3GW of renewable power, more than enough to offset its energy use, and allow it to claim it is 100 percent renewable. In Taiwan, the company lobbied hard for a change to Taiwan’s Electricity Act which would allow non-utility companies to buy renewable energy directly. Google is the first corporate power purchaser to act after the law was amended.
Taiwanese energy developer New Green Power will deploy the 40,000 solar panels at a fish farm at Tainan City, which is located 100 km south of Google’s Changhua County data center. When completed, the panels will be connected to the same regional power grid, offsetting Google’s energy use through a power purchase agreement.
The solar panels will be deployed in commercial fishing ponds to maximize land use. Poles will be mounted into the ponds to elevate the solar panels several feet into the sky, so fish and solar panels can coexist without loss of land or energy efficiency. The fish farm will be compensated for hosting the solar panels. [FULL STORY]