We Like It! Facebook’s Huntsville Data Center is a Boost to the Local Economy

Facebook’s Huntsville Data Center has helped foster economic growth locally since breaking ground in 2018.

The data center, which is scheduled to go online next year, represents more than a $750 million investment, employed hundreds of construction jobs and supports more than 200 jobs. The 970,000 square-foot facility is in the North Huntsville Industrial Park.

Facebook released a study Thursday on the economic contributions of Facebook data centers in the U.S. from 2017-2019. The study, in partnership with RTI International, finds Facebook’s investments through capital expenditures, operating expenses and direct wages in data centers totaled $11.5 billion, contributed a cumulative $18.6 billion to the U.S. GDP and supported more than 178,000 jobs nationwide.

“We are proud to invest $750 million into Huntsville, but even prouder to see how our investments spur further economic benefits for the area especially during this tough economic climate,” said Katie Comer, Facebook Community Development Manager. “Our data center investments go beyond economic growth to benefit the local environment and community.”

Facebook has eight operating data centers across the U.S. with five more under construction. The data centers host videos, photos, and news articles found on Facebook news feeds.

The study does not include that in 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and mass layoffs, Facebook announced more than 4.8 million square feet of new data center construction in the U.S.

Results of the study show that for every $1 million in data center capital expenditures, there were 14 jobs supported in the area, and for every $1 million in data center operating expenditures, 18 jobs were supported.

Facebook also made more than 300 charitable investments from 2017-2019 that focused on putting the power of technology for community benefit and improving local Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education.

As part of its COVID-19 relief efforts, Facebook supported Madison County Schools to help provide access to remote learning including laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, Wi-Fi buses, and support for continued food programs for students.

The study also estimates that Facebook data centers have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by over 3 million tons since 2011, the equivalent of taking over 660,000 cars off the road.

The company partnered with the Tennessee Valley Authority to create an energy tariff that will let qualifying customers, not just Facebook, buy renewable resources. Solar energy projects will be developed to support the Huntsville Data Center.