Aware Super has invested around US$500m (€445m) in Switch, a US-based renewables-powered data centre platform.

The investment is being made through a partnership with DigitalBridge. Last December, DigitalBridge and IFM Investors acquired Switch in a US$11bn take-private deal.

The transaction is Aware Super’s first investment in the data centre sector, a deal the A$160bn industry super fund has flagged would be the precursor to more such investments.

Jiren Zhou, portfolio manager with Aware Super, told IPE Real Assets: “In Australia, we own half of Vocus Group (a telecommunications and fibre network company), but we do not have direct investment in data centres. We have been looking for exposure to this sector for some time, and we think Switch is a great business for us to invest in.”

Zhou said vacancy was 2.8% nationally in the US in the first quarter of this year, and that there was a queue waiting to get into data centres.

“Switch is uniquely positioned for that and, most importantly, Switch is 100% powered by renewable energy, so it goes well with our responsible sustainable-investment philosophy to support low-carbon business.”

Zhou said currently Switch operates 15 data centres located in five different campuses in Texas, Georgia, Grand Rapids, and Las Vegas and continues to build new centres to meet demand.

“Being one of the largest super funds, we have ambition to grow our investments internationally and we are looking for the best possible deals. This investment in Switch is a step towards the ambition.”

Jon Mauck, senior managing director at DigitalBridge, said: “Aware Super recognises the role of digital infrastructure in the ongoing digitisation of the global economy, and we welcome the opportunity to partner with them to invest in Switch, one of the industry’s fastest-growing and highest-quality data centre portfolios.”

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