Four years after it first announced plans to enter the Silicon Valley market, developer EdgeCore Digital Infrastructure has broken ground on a new data center on its property in Santa Clara. The campus will feature two data centers supporting 72 megawatts of critical load across 540,000 square feet of space. Utility power will be available at the site through Silicon Valley Power beginning in Q1 2024.
In November EdgeCore was acquired for $1.2 billion by Partners Group, which promised to fund development of data centers in new markets and "scale EdgeCore well beyond the initial commitment and target markets."
Last week's groundbreaking is a sign that Partners is making good on that promise. EdgeCore said the Santa Clara ccampus is one of several development projects EdgeCore has slated to begin in 2023.
“EdgeCore entered 2023 poised for rapid growth and today’s announcement of our Silicon Valley campus groundbreaking is the exciting start to a busy year of development,” said Jeff Dorr, President and Chief Financial Officer, EdgeCore. “To ensure the exacting standards of our customers are exceeded, EdgeCore’s commitment to infusing sustainable building and operational practices in each high-performance, ready-for-occupancy data center we construct continues with this Santa Clara facility.”
The EdgeCore announcement brings more inventory and competition to Silicon Valley, which is one of the largest and most important data center markets in the U.S., but also one of the most difficult places to build new data centers.
Santa Clara is the prime location for data center site selection because its municipal utility. Silicon Valley Power offers rates are meaningfully lower than the cost of power from PG&E in surrounding towns. But development sites have grown scarce in Santa Clara since EdgeCore acquired its 12-acre site in 2018,, prompting data center developers to seek sites with existing buildings that can be demolished to make way for data center campuses.
“The Silicon Valley market was built on demand primarily from IT services, but demand from cloud services providers, especially hyperscalers, has dominated the market in the past few years,” said Stefanie Williams, Senior Research Analyst at 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. “Finding space to build in Silicon Valley is increasingly difficult, however, because land there is often earmarked for residential or commercial use rather than for industrial buildings such as data centers. Power can also be difficult to access in large quantities.”
EdgeCore operates data center campuses in Ashburn in Northern Virginia, and Mesa in the Greater Phoenix market. The company also owns land in Reno, Nevada.
EdgeCore's development approach, which we profiled in a tour of its Phoenix-area campus, focuses on efficiency. EdgeCore makes extensive use of off-site construction, including modularized power rooms that attach to the exterior wall of the building. The multi-story design makes efficient use of land, while the power chain takes advantage of pre-fabricated construction.
EdgeCore is using lithium-ion batteries in its UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems, reflecting the recent shift away from the lead-acid batteries that have long been a stable of data center UPS rooms. For its cooling system, EdgeCore is using air-cooled chillers, an approach that uses very little water, a key consideration for data centers in the Western U.S.