On Monday, Taiwanese officials gave their assent for Google to build its second hyperscale facility on land bought in the city of Tainan. Google has not yet confirmed the size.

Google’s first facility in Changhua County cost $600m and opened in 2013, on a 15 hectare (37 acre) plot, 100km (62 miles) north of Tainan. This new build may be larger given the investment.

Google also considered Japan and South Korea for expansion, but apparently decided it was best to follow up on its previous investment with a second facility in Taiwan.

Google's Taiwan Solar Project
The Tainan floating solar panel project – Google

Floating solar power

To offset the environmental costs of its data centers, Google is investing in various environmental projects in the country. Back in January, Google signed a deal to buy the output of a 10MW solar array in Tainan.

The solar purchase is certainly smaller than the power expected to be used by the data center but will give Google a more stable long-term price for electricity, and reduce its carbon emissions in Taiwan.

Taiwanese energy developer, New Green Power, will build the 40,000 solar panels at a fish farm at Tainan City. When completed, the panels will be connected to the same regional power grid, giving Google access to renewable energy through a power purchase agreement. The solar panels will be deployed in 2020.

Changing the rules

Google has for the past few years lobbied the Taiwanese government to alter its energy regulations so that it can buy renewable energy from the source - previously only utilities could do such a thing. In 2017, the government amended the rules to allow companies buy renewable energy - allowing the tech giant to lay the ground work for its solar project.

Globally, Google holds the title as the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable energy. Since January 2017, Google's sole data center in Chile has been powered solely on solar power from Chile’s Atacama region. And, in September, Google signed 18 renewable energy contracts, totalling 1,600MW. The largest renewable energy deal in corporate history, bringing Google's overall portfolio of wind and solar agreements to 5,500MW.