Facebook has invested $416 million in a 379MW solar farm in Andrews County, Texas, the company’s first direct investment in a renewable energy project.

This investment brings financing for the Prospero Solar project to a close, construction will now begin on the solar farm with completion expected for 2020.

facebook fort worth texas
Facebook's Fort Worth campus – Facebook

The project will be built by US renewable energy developer Longroad Energy. The company already owns 684MW of operational wind and solar projects in US, so Facebook's 397MW site marks a significant increase in capacity for Longroad.

Last year, Longroad sold the 283MW Rio Bravo wind project in Starr County, Texas to Sammons Renewable Energy; just two weeks ago QTS signed a 10-year power purchase agreement with the Starr County site to provide 100 percent of its electrical needs for its Chicago, IL and Piscataway, New Jersey facilities.

The social network and advertising company is the sole tax equity investor in the 4,600-acre project, but will share the renewable energy produced by the farm with Shell Energy North America, which has signed a 12-year power purchase agreement for the energy.

Facebook already has a data center campus in the state, located in Forth Worth. The facility has been open since 2017 and has seen more than $1bn in investment. In March a state incentive package was unveiled that would bring $150m in investment to the campus, with $100m of that to be spent on servers alone.

Peter Freed, energy strategy manager at Facebook, said: "Facebook is excited to be one of the first companies to use a direct investment to meet our renewable energy goals. We hope such investments can be a new avenue of meaningfully engaging with projects, which might be easier for some companies than a long-term power purchase agreement.”

Last week Facebook signed a PPA for 112MW of solar power in Utah to supply the company’s Eagle Mountain facility with clean power.