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Facebook : center to include solar power More details announced on Facebook's $1 billion data center in Henrico County

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10/06/2017 | 10:28am CEST

More details emerged on Facebook Inc.'s pending arrival to Henrico County at a Thursday morning news conference.

More details emerged on Facebook Inc.'s pending arrival to Henrico County at a Thursday morning news conference.

Facebook will invest $1 billion in Virginia as part of its plans to build a 970,000-square-foot data center at White Oak Technology Park in Henrico County.

As part of a new renewable energy tariff designed by Facebook and Dominion Energy Virginia, hundreds of millions of dollars will go toward the construction of solar facilities to help make the data center powered with 100 percent renewable energy.

Facebook's Henrico Data Center will be the company's eighth in the United States. Rachel Peterson, Facebook's director of data center strategy, said the data center will be one of the most advanced, energy-efficient in the world.

"Henrico County is a great fit for our newest data center, and we look forward to being part of the community," Peterson said in her remarks.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the project is three years in the making and included a meeting on Monday in San Francisco to tie things up.

"I am proud to welcome Facebook to Henrico County, and we look forward to a strong partnership," McAuliffe said.

Henrico has been laying the groundwork to lure Facebook.

Earlier this year Henrico's board of supervisors lowered the county's tax rate on computers and equipment related to data centers. In September, Henrico'sPlanning Commission approved a development plan for a data center at White Oak of up to 2.5 million square feet code named Project Echo.

In his remarks, County Manager John Vithoulkas called the occasion one of the most exciting moments in Henrico's history.

"You've got one of the most recognized companies in the world that's chosen to locate in Henrico," Vithoulkas said in an interview.

Vithoulkas said the county gave Facebook an $850,000 sewer connection credit on a total fee that would be upward of $2 million. Facebook will become one of the top taxpayers in the county and its top water user, Vithoulkas said. Facebook is expected use up to 3.5 million gallons a day.

In addition to the tax revenue and job impact, local leaders are banking on Facebook to play a role in the region's schools, though what form that will take hasn't been finalized.

Tyrone Nelson, the Henrico supervisor for the Varina district home to Facebook's site, said he was excited to see the impact Facebook would have on the community.

"The thing that excites me about Facebook is the constant care about investing in the community," Nelson said.

Facebook is expected to have 100 full-time employees when the data center comes on line and construction is expected to create thousands of construction jobs. The data center is expected to be complete in 2019.

moconnor@timesdispatch.com(804) 649-6254

© Copyright (c) 2017 The Roanoke Times, source Newspapers

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