Apple’s solar farm will use high-efficiency panels to power its largest data center

The San Jose Mercury News unveiled Apple’s energy supplier for the data center in North Carolina, which is expected to begin its activity somewhere around October, when the solar farm’s build will be accomplished.  According to the journal, the San Jose-based Sun Power (SPWRA) won the deal with Apple and will provide the necessary sun panels.

Apple aims to use at least 14 photovoltaic installations that will provide a considerable amount of the data center’s overall energy needs, as the company claimed in its environmental report released one month ago:

 “When completed, this 100-acre, 20-megawatt facility will supply 42 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy annually.”

San Jose sun power panels

But Apple fail to specify how many energy the huge data center needs to run its servers. Greenpeace estimates that only 9.8 percent of the overall needs will be covered by the solar farm while the rest 90 percent ought to come from Duke Energy, the only energy supplier in that region, which uses mostly coal to generate electricity.

The Maiden, N.C. data center supports the iTunes and the iCloud services and there’s no doubt that for these services’ servers to run a lot of fuel is required, so Greenpeace might be right. Meanwhile, Apple started a new”green” project in Prineville, Oregon.

Source: AppleInsider via The San Jose Mercury News


Apple’s green power project in North Carolina, “Project Dolphin”

Education and business are not Apple’s solely interest. The company involved several years ago also in environmental issues and started by eliminating and reducing substances that are harmful for the environment. The glass, plastic and metal were reduced in the manufacturing and the paper and ink in packaging and some other chemical substances were replaced with natural ones, resulting in smart redesigned products that have a small impact on the environment.

Apple’s environmental footprint consists also in recycling programs that includes the development of longer lasting batteries too, and a Facilities program that applies for reducing the water and the energy consumption.

The most recent Facility procedure initiated by Apple has its roots in 2010, when the company built near Maiden, NC an enormous data center. Beside this center a 147 acres surface was cleared and intended for a solar farm, according to Solar Feeds.

Apple’s latest environmental report describes the 100-acre solar array as the nation’s “largest end user-owned, onsite” that will be able of supplying 42 million kWh of renewable energy per year.

This data center is the biggest and, so far, the most significant proof of Apple’s involvement in environmental issues. In 2011 Apple achieved substantial reduction in its facilities impact over the environment by considerably reducing the energy use and the gas emissions.

2011 Energy Consumption

Source: TechCrunch via Apple’s environmental report