Apple's NC Solar Farm to Utilize High-Efficiency SunPower Panels, Online as Soon as October

The San Jose Mercury News reports that a regulatory filing has revealed that Apple's massive solar farm at its new data center in Maiden, North Carolina will utilize panels from San Jose-based energy company SunPower. The ground-mounted panels will track with the sun throughout the day and be installed in phases with the first batch set to come on line as soon as October of this year.

[A]n 18-page filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission makes it clear that SunPower has been chosen to provide the solar panels for the massive solar farm.

"Each of the photovoltaic installations will consist of multiple SunPower E20 435-watt photovoltaic modules on ground-mounted single axis tracking systems," the filing states.

The solar farm will be built in phases and could begin delivering electricity to the grid as early as October.

The E20 panels from SunPower are being promoted as the world's first solar panels to reach 20% efficiency, incorporating the latest solar cell, inverter and light capturing technologies to boost performance.

sunpower e20 solar panel
Apple recently touted its plans for the solar farm and a complementary fuel cell installation as part of its commitment to alternative energy at the new data center. The 20-megawatt solar farm is said to be the largest such user-owned facility in the United States.

Top Rated Comments

GubbyMan Avatar
129 months ago
Holy s***! 20% is amazing! The best solar panels a few years ago could just manage around 12%. I never knew the technology was moving forward this fast. :eek:
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jwhazel Avatar
129 months ago
Creating Bio Gas is not a difficult or unproven technology and the Grass grows using Solar Power or also called Sunshine, you might have noticed and the neat thing that Cows even **** in the Dark, and the Bio Gas is available even if the Sun dose not shine, which is around 60% of the time (24hours) which the Datacenter will be running.
And if you uses the Bio Gas in the BloomEnergy Fuel Cells which deserve the Name Efficient. That is Future Technology developed for the Mars Mission. Your Marketing might actually be telling the Truth, instead of BS.

Well how bout this. I'll set up my grid of innefficient solar panels and you obtain your land, harvest crops year round, and shovel cow dung into your expensive fuel cell. At the end of the day we both have power to our homes, but one of us did zero work and the other smells like cow ****. ;)
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jwhazel Avatar
129 months ago
20% Efficiency is a Oxymoron.
even if 20% is the best we can do with Solar it is not efficient.
That is Marketing BS and nothing else. You could probably reach a higher efficiency by grown hay on the plot of land feeding Cattle an using there **** to fuel a Bloomberg Fuelcell with the Biogas.
But it its harder to Market if you had write "Powered by ****" even if they are saying the same with 20% Efficiency.

:p

Yes, except for the fact that the energy harvested by solar arrays is free and requires no input work energy. The sun will always be there, shining light, waiting for us to scoop it up. Your cow **** power idea? Not the same.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nostromo Avatar
129 months ago
Excellent.

Apple joins the future-minded fans of clean energy and less dependency of the crazy oil sheikhs and oil mullahs.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mdriftmeyer Avatar
129 months ago
Holy s***! 20% is amazing! The best solar panels a few years ago could just manage around 12%. I never knew the technology was moving forward this fast. :eek:

To put it into perspective to non-Mechanical Engineers, an ideal Carnot Thermodynamic Cycle for a Power Plant is 44.5%. In reality, a far lower efficiency of Work/Heat for an ideal Nuclear Power Plant is possible.

An highly efficient Engine for an Otto Cycle you'd see in a Car is only 27%. Typically, it's around 22%.

Solar Panels are going to leap frog both. The hate for their superior efficiencies will be drowned out by the cost efficiencies of their systems in real world conditions.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Arne Avatar
129 months ago
Maybe but you gotta start sometime.
The first few years/decade will be the most expensive but in the long run, it will make the technology cheaper for the masses.

I'm not referring to the money. If you want green energy, you want to keep these cells running for as long as possible. If you keep replacing them whenever there is a technological improvement, there is lithe benefit from that.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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