Apple Seeds 20-Megawatt Solar Farm
The tech giant boasts a 114% increase in renewable energy use since 2010
Tech media were all a-twitter last week with news that Apple is teaming up with Nevada utility NV Energy to build a solar array for its data center in Reno. Dubbed "Ft. Churchill," the 18- to 20-megawatt concentrated solar farm would be Apple's third, following two SunPower facilities under construction adjacent to its Maiden, NC, data center.
Technology giants such as Apple, Google, Facebook, eBay and Amazon require massive data centers to store and manage vast amounts of information and cloud services. As such, they've come under increased scrutiny from environmental groups questioning their energy management practices. As recently as 2012, Greenpeace offered Apple a "D" grade in renewable energy use.
A relative slowcomer to the sustainability movement, and a target of criticism for everything from tax-maneuvering to the endless incompatibility of new Apple charging accessories, Apple says it's now on track with its ambitious goal to power every corporate facility 100 percent with energy from renewable sources.
It's not all solar, either. The company's Prineville, OR, data center is designed to use "micro-hydro" power, generated by water flushing through irrigation canals.
Apple says it has reached its 100-percent target for every data center that provides online services to its customers. "We've also reached 100 percent at our facilities in Austin, Cork, and Munich and at our Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino," Apple reports.
"For all of Apple's corporate facilities worldwide, we're at 75 percent renewable energy -- which represents a 114 percent increase since 2010," the company continues. "To get to 100 percent worldwide, we're constructing new energy-efficient buildings and updating existing ones. We're installing our own onsite renewable energy sources, including solar arrays and fuel cells. And for the balance of our energy needs, we're establishing as many long-term contracts with energy suppliers as we are allowed."
When completed, the 137-acre Nevada solar array will generate roughly 44 million kilowatt hours of clean energy, including excess for Sierra Pacific Power's local power grid. The tech giant also has permission to expand the solar farm in the future.
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