Las Vegas-based Switch goes to 100 percent renewable energy


Technology firm Switch opened a new data center — Supernap Las Vegas 9 — on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015.

Las Vegas data company Switch announced today that it will draw exclusively from renewable energy to power its facilities, a move that began at the start of this year. Under an agreement with NV Energy, the company will tap into the utility’s existing renewable portfolio during the construction of two solar projects expected to be finished at the end of this year.

For Switch, the move makes good on a pledge last year to power its data centers with renewable energy. In addition, the company had also joined several private companies in making a commitment to a White House-led initiative to invest in activities that address climate change.

Switch's data centers provide services to corporations like DreamWorks, eBay and Google as well as local companies like MGM Resorts and Zappos.

“Switch has set a new standard for using renewable resources to power their growing business,” Paul Caudill, NV Energy’s president and CEO, said in the company's statement announcing its move to solar energy. “Switch’s leadership has opened the door for other large customers, including the city of Las Vegas, to meet their own renewable energy goals without negatively impacting the rates of other customers.”

Last summer, Switch applied to leave NV Energy. State regulators in June denied the company’s exit application, arguing that the departure could result in hikes for other ratepayers. But in July, the utility and the company eventually reached an agreement whereby Switch would pay a premium for renewable energy and be served by new solar projects tied to NV Energy’s grid.

“My goal for a number of years has been to move Switch, and the customers we serve through our full service data and technology centers in Nevada, to 100 percent green, renewable energy,” Switch founder and CEO Rob Roy said in a statement after the deal.

The city of Las Vegas recently struck a similar agreement with NV Energy.

Switch Station 1 and Switch Station 2, the solar projects that will serve the company, are slated for completion by the end of 2016. In the meantime, Switch will draw its energy from the utility’s existing renewable sources, which include geothermal, wind and solar.

Given their nonstop operations and a steep increase in digital content, data centers are some of the largest consumers of electricity.

With the move to renewable energy, Roy described Switch today as a “leader of sustainability in the data center industry.”