Google has announced today that it plans to spend around €250 million on the construction of a new data center facility to be located in Saint-Ghislain, Belgium, with the data center set to kick off operations by mid-2019. The data center building is the third infrastructure Google is erecting on the same site where its first European data center is located, built way back in 2009. The new data center marks yet another expansion of Google's efforts to cater to the growing demands for the company's services in the region, where it currently operates existing data centers at Eemshaven in The Netherlands, Dublin, Ireland, and Hamina in Finland, not to mention that the new facility is expected to help provide more jobs to the local residents in Saint-Ghislain. According to Joe Kava, Google's Vice President for Global Data Centers, the new investment is expected to create more construction jobs as well as open more full-time positions at Google once the building is completed by next year, noting that the Saint-Ghislain site already provides jobs to around 350 employees both with full-time and contractor roles.
Additionally, Google also unveiled a new solar power plant inside the same data center facility site in Saint-Ghislain, which was built through the company's previous investment of three million Euros. Kava also noted that the solar plant is the second-largest such power plant in the region, comprising 10,665 solar panels and capable of producing 2.9 Gigawatt hour of renewable energy annually. Google tapped a local construction company there to build the solar farm on a four-hectare land area, with the construction having started in March last year. As part of Google's renewable energy goals, its Saint-Ghislain data center facility uses an advanced cooling system that gets its water source from the nearby industrial canal instead of a traditional refrigeration system.
Google's latest data center plan comes only a few days after the company announced that it will expand its data center footprint into five new regions, including the Netherlands and Montreal, where the said facilities are slated to begin operations within the first quarter of the year. Also, Google is planning to add new data centers in Los Angeles, Finland, and Hong Kong, though there's no official date for those locations yet.