Switch to build huge data center near Tesla battery factory

The stretch of land that will house Tesla’s new massive battery factory just outside of Reno, Nevada, will become home to another very large customer: what’s being billed as the world’s largest data center to be built by Las Vegas-based data center provider Switch.

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announced Thursday during his annual State of the State address that Switch, which has huge SuperNAP data center facilities in Las Vegas, plans to build a 3 million square-foot, $1 billion data center (it’s largest project yet) at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center. Switch plans to have the first 800,000 square-foot portion of the facility built by early 2016, and eBay will be the anchor tenant.

Switch's SuperNAP data center in Las Vegas

Switch’s SuperNAP data center in Las Vegas

Last year, after months of negotiations, Tesla announced that it had chosen the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center for the location of its battery factory, which will churn out enough lithium ion batteries for 500,000 electric cars by 2020. Tesla’s factory will cost $5 billion and will create 6,500 jobs, and Tesla received a $1.25 billion tax break over 20 years.

Switch is also expected to receive tax incentives for its Reno data center. In addition to the new site, Switch is also expanding its facilities in Vegas.

A recently raised spot of land in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center.

A recently raised spot of land in the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center.

Switch’s SuperNAP Reno will connect to its Vegas facilities via fiber — dubbed the SuperLoop — which will be a 500 mile fiber network between the two regions. Data Center Knowledge said the fiber network will “place 50 million people within 14 milliseconds of data hosted at the SUPERNAPs.”

Switch won’t be the only data center operator in the Reno area. Apple is building out a sizable data center (recently expanded to nine buildings and 345 acres) at the Reno Technology Park about 20 miles east of Reno. One thing that attracted Apple, and likely Switch, to the Center is the region’s capacity to offer clean power for data center providers. Tesla plans to, down the road, fully support its factory with clean power.

The deal is good news for the city of Reno and the surrounding area, which has been trying to remake itself into a high tech manufacturing region and move beyond its image as a gambling backwater (see the Changing face of Reno: Why the world’s biggest little city is attracting Tesla and Apple). However data centers don’t provide the type of full time jobs that a factory does.

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