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Apple's Data Centers to Be Powered by 100% Renewable Energy

Earlier today, we noted that Apple had received official approval for its 20-megawatt solar farm across the street from its data center in Maiden, North Carolina. But even more significant developments are also occurring today, with Apple posting a new page to the environmental section of its website touting that all of the company's data centers will be powered by 100% renewable energy.


At the North Carolina site, the previously-annnounced 20-megawatt solar farm is being joined by a second farm of equal size a few miles away. Combined with the 5-megawatt fuel cell facility also being built at the data center, 60% of the data center's power needs will be generated on site. The remaining 40% will be purchased through agreements with outside renewable power producers.
We’re currently building two solar array installations in and around Maiden. These sites use high-efficiency solar cells and an advanced solar tracking system. A 100-acre, 20-megawatt installation on the same site as our data center will produce 42 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy annually. A 100-acre site located a few miles away will produce another 42 million kWh. Together that’s 84 million kWh of clean, renewable energy supplied annually. When our bio-gas-powered 5-megawatt fuel cell installation comes online later this year, it will provide more than 40 million kWh of renewable energy annually. This means Apple will be producing enough onsite renewable energy — 124 million kWh — to power the equivalent of 10,874 homes.
Apple's efforts in renewable energy will also extend to its other data center facilities, as the company previously disclosed that its upcoming Prineville, Oregon data center will be powered by 100% renewable energy. And the new page posted today reveals that the company's original, smaller data center in Newark, California will soon be powered by renewable energy as Apple works to locate and purchase clean energy for the facility, with the capacity scheduled to be in place by February 2013.

Greenpeace last month bashed Apple using estimates it claimed showed that only 10% of the North Carolina data center's power would be from renewable sources. Apple rebutted those claims, noting that at least 60% of the center's energy would be from renewable sources. With today's announcements, Apple has expanded its efforts even further to power all of its data centers with 100% renewable energy.

Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago

Only companies with more money than common sense can do this type of thing. It will never have a pay off and will likely consume more energy in it's fabrication and manufacture than it ever produces.


Never have a pay off?

Bull.

Quit thinking in the short term. The pay off is the influence it will have on other big companies. The payoff is the mother****ing environment, the goddman earth. Jesus H. Christ, people. The fabrication will eventually be powered with renewable energy. Eventually it will ALL be renewable energy but we have to take the first steps somewhere.

That's part of the problem with our species. "We created jobs with oil fields! Now they want to take them away and take away jobs from Americans!" This kind of short term thinking, about who gets paid when and where with no concern for the environment and pollution is part of the reason almost all our modern conveniences will come back to kill us in the end. Keep poisoning the air, soil and sea just so that you can get another paycheck, but one day we'll be in a full-on crisis mode and nobody will want to admit they contributed to this mess.
Rating: 32 Votes
33 months ago
We're sorry, your iCloud is currently unavailable. ... Because its cloudy.
Rating: 26 Votes
33 months ago
Apple should plant some apple trees.
Rating: 18 Votes
33 months ago
This is outstanding, and I do sincerely hope that more corporations will follow.
Rating: 15 Votes
33 months ago
This is a lot of trouble to go through just to make sure my reminder to buy cat food is synced across my devices.
Rating: 14 Votes
33 months ago

What a waste of money. This company has lost its discipline and will surely go down the tubes over the next ten years.

You're joking, right?
Rating: 13 Votes
33 months ago

Why would you suspect I'm joking? This wanton spending does nothing for Apple's consumers, and it does nothing for Apple shareholders. It's really just a sign that management is concerned with spending their time and corporate money on their own self-absorbed bourgeois fantasies, instead of, you know, making insanely great products.

They could have added a bottle opener to my iPhone and it would have been a more useful feature upgrade than this.

I sold my shares. Now I understand why Forstall and Mansfield did to. Apple needs to fire their board of directors and replace it with people who have a clue, since obviously Steve Jobs isn't there to babysit them anymore.


How much does this save them in terms of PR costs? Not to mention the panels will in time pay for themselves and add value to the land. I fail to see how this is anything other than a calculated business move and a good investment when interest/bond rates are at an all time low.
Rating: 13 Votes
33 months ago

I think this last sentence is implying the wrong thing. The data centers will not be entirely powered by renewable energy (that is my interpretation of the articles/pages etc.). 60% of the energy needed for the data center will be from 100% renewable sources - That is my interpretation.

Still an awesome move by Apple. Just don't want people to get the wrong idea.


"The remaining 40% will be purchased through agreements with outside renewable power producers."

Read the whole article.
Rating: 12 Votes
33 months ago

Why would you suspect I'm joking? This wanton spending does nothing for Apple's consumers, and it does nothing for Apple shareholders. It's really just a sign that management is concerned with spending their time and corporate money on their own self-absorbed bourgeois fantasies, instead of, you know, making insanely great products.

They could have added a bottle opener to my iPhone and it would have been a more useful feature upgrade than this.

I sold my shares. Now I understand why Forstall and Mansfield did to. Apple needs to fire their board of directors and replace it with people who have a clue, since obviously Steve Jobs isn't there to babysit them anymore.


So you're criticizing Apple for thinking beyond simply making money and actually having a positive influence on the people and earth as a whole. No offense, but this attitude is exactly what is wrong with society: myopic, me-first thinking and why the capitalist system doesn't always work very well. It's nice to see a company that goes beyond just trying to please it's shareholders and actually wanting to have a social conscience.
Rating: 11 Votes
33 months ago

What a waste of money. This company has lost its discipline and will surely go down the tubes over the next ten years.


You do realize that there's entire (for-profit) businesses built around laying solar panels on any structure they can, then selling the power to the building owner (at standard grid rates, mind you)? Payback time is like 5-8 years for these companies, but they stand to make a killing as time goes on, as these systems last 20+ years. Look up what a "power purchase agreement" is.

Also understand that with a large installation like this, Apple would be buying wholesale power off the grid. That power fluctuates in price based on demand. So on warm, sunny days (perfect solar power weather), Apple would have to pay way, way more for power than in the middle of the night when it's not warm out. So solar power especially makes sense when you consider this, since it is displacing the highest cost electricity that Apple would have to buy.

Ultimately, smart meters will be bringing this pricing to homes, also. Power will be more expensive at peak times, but if you can run stuff off peak it will be way cheaper that what you pay currently.
Rating: 11 Votes

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