Apple has struck a deal for a new 100-acre solar farm near its Maiden, North Carolina data center, the third such farm providing energy for the facility, reports the Hickory Daily Record. According to the report, Apple will be making an initial investment of $55 million in the solar farm, which will generate 17.5 megawatts of power.
Apple plans to have a grading permit submitted for the property by the end of the year, pending acquisition of the land and other terms of the development agreement. If everything else goes according to plan, the farm is projected to be completed within five years of the commencement date.
Apple's North Carolina data center is the first in a series of significant data center projects the company has undertaken in recent years, with Apple also working on centers in Oregon and Nevada. Under its promise to run its data centers on 100% renewable energy, Apple has been investing heavily in energy sources such as solar and biogas while purchasing other types of renewable energy from suppliers.
The North Carolina data center was joined by a 20-megawatt solar farm across the street by late 2012, and Apple has also been developing a second 20-megawatt solar farm a few miles away. The data center is also powered by a biogas fuel cell facility that began as a 4.8-megawatt project but was later expanded to 10 megawatts.
Apple's exact plans for this third solar farm are unclear, as the five-year planning horizon suggests it may be part of a longer-term vision for the site. The current data center primarily consists of a massive 500,000 square-foot building, but plans presented by Apple during the project's development depicted a second building of equal size ultimately being constructed next door. Apple's timeline for any expansion of that magnitude for the data center itself remain unknown.
Top Rated Comments
Note that Crescent Dunes Solar Farm took only 2 years to build and produces 110 MegaWatts!
Unfortunately, the general public go a bit loopy when they hear nuclear being suggested. It's quite disappointing.
Current onshore wind turbines can reach 7.5-8 MW per turbine. Why not combine these two elements? They should have enough space on these solar farms to mix both technologies.
After reading all the interesting comments, I come to realize that Apple had chosen a solution that is easiest to install and cheapest to maintain, replace or upgrade.
Wind is great but high initial cost (tall metal structure with a huge motor & long blades on top), and maintenance is a high cost, in hiring technicians and in safety (changing huge heavy metal gears high above ground in a constantly windy environment), and the issue of birds are flying into it. And bats, who eat millions of insects every night, whose sonic radars were interfered by those huge blades.
If turbine on land is costly, you can imagine the new technology of turbines at sea. Not only costly to build and maintain but could be damaged or even lost at sea in hurricanes or earthquakes.
Nuclear is contradicting to the philosophy of those yuppy Californians. In light of numerous accidents around the world, whether human errors, design errors or earthquakes, it would be a publicity nightmare for Apple in decades to come if there is a single accident in an Apple reactor. The only people who favor nuclear are probably those who will be financially benefited from it, directly or indirectly.
Geothermal is low cost installation and low cost maintenance but it is for adding heat, not removing heat.