Silicon Ranch, Tract Collaborating on Renewables for Hyperscale Data Centers

Jan. 25, 2024
Denver-based Tract is focused on developing hyperscale data center sites and is pairing with Silicon Ranch to create “green campuses” at developments of the future. The real estate developer has announced plans for two projects previously.

A startup acquirer of land sites for data centers is going to partner with a solar and energy storage integrator Silicon Ranch in an exclusive collaboration to install renewables at future projects.

Denver-based Tract is focused on developing hyperscale data center sites and is pairing with Silicon Ranch to create “green campuses” at developments of the future. The real estate developer has announced plans for two projects previously—a 2-GW, 2,200-acre site near Reno, Nevada and a 46-building data center campus near Richmond, Virginia.

Last week, Tract revealed it was acquiring 668 acres of land in Eagle Mountain, Utah. So far, all of its projects are in early development stages. 

Nashville-based Silicon Ranch is already working with Tract on site acquisition and interconnection processes for utility-scale solar and battery projects to support the planned campuses in Nevada and Utah.

“Our relationship with Silicon Ranch has developed over the past two years based on a joint recognition that delivering speed and certainty for tomorrow’s data center scale cannot rely on the processes and commercial models that have supported data center growth to date,” Grant van Rooyen, Tract CEO and Managing Partner said in a statement.  “As renewable power and data centers intersect, we need to plan strategically, with a longer time horizon in mind.  With Silicon Ranch, we found a partner to build thought leadership, and we look forward to collaborating with them in Nevada, Utah, and beyond.”

Silicon Ranch announced in 2022 that it was developing solar projects to support Facebook owner Meta's data centers in Georgia and Tennessee. 

Silicon Ranch has developed numerous utility-scale solar and storage projects nationwide, including the 20-MW McNeal Solar Farm completed in Arizona last fall. The company also has done renewables projects in Georgia and on the Vanderbilt University campus in Tennessee.

Silicon Ranch concluded a $600 million equity raise early in 2023. Among its biggest investors are Manulife Investment Management, TD Asset Management, and Mountain Group Partners.

“Silicon Ranch has deep experience supporting hyperscale data centers, with more than 2.5 GW under contract with this important customer segment,” co-founder and CEO Reagan Farr said. “We recognize their needs are evolving and are proud that this collaboration with Tract enables us to create a next-generation solution that combines shovel-ready development sites with access to pre-positioned renewable generation.”

The rise of artificial intelligence and other cloud-based technologies is driving data center growth exponentially. Whereas most utilities historically predict an annual 2-3% annual growth in electricity demand, the hyperscale data center market is projected to grow about 20 percent annually, according to Forbes and other forecasters.

Real estate giant CBRE Group, in its Global Data Center Trends 2023 report, noted that the growth of AI and autonomous tools is pushing data center installation past where traditional energy capacity growth can match it.

“A worldwide shortage of available power is inhibiting the growth of the global data center market,” reads the CBRE executive summary. Sourcing enough power is a top priority of data center operators across North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific.”

One of the content sessions at the upcoming Microgrid 2024 Conference will focus on “Tackling Grid Capacity Challenges of Data Centers and Other Large Industrial Users.” Microgrid 2024 is happening April 22-24 at the Marriott Waterfront in Baltimore. Learn more about the event here.