Apple data center goes solar, biogas

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

As part of Apple's commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its facilities, the computer giant has announced plans to develop a large solar photovoltaic array and biogas-based fuel cell system at its new data center in Maiden, North Carolina.

Data centers are significant consumers of electricity.  Apple designed its Maiden facility to earn LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it among the most energy-efficient data centers in the U.S.  Apple's plans now include developing a 20 MW solar facility on land adjacent to the data center, as well as a 5 MW biogas-based fuel cell system.  Apple describes these as "the nation’s largest end user-owned solar array" "the largest nonutility fuel cell installation in the United States."

Apple reportedly expects to produce 42 GWh annually from the solar system and 40 GWh annually from the fuel cell, which would significantly increase Apple's consumption of renewable energy.

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