Apple just applied for permits to build a solar farm on 171 acres of land near their Maiden, North Carolina data center. Though the company isn’t releasing any official information about the project, the data center in question has been railed by the media for being run on cheap dirty coal. If the entire vacant lot is transformed into a solar energy production field it has the capability of providing the data center with 25 to 35 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity.
Data centers consume a tremendous amount of electricity, and companies around the world have made recent efforts to cut down on their power use — by doing this they can reduce emissions while saving money. Facebook just built a data center in the arctic that takes advantage of the region’s frigid air as a cooling system, and Google recently announced that they’ve been carbon neutral since 2007 with the help of data centers run on renewable energy.
Apple’s latest solar endeavor isn’t its first – the company currently has at least three facilities world-wide that are completely powered by renewable energy. They also just released plans for a new, super efficient, sustainable headquarters in Cupertino, California. The North Carolina data center is responsible for processing information for their new iCloud service, and though they haven’t applied for a building permit yet, they’ve asked the city for permits allowing them to reshape the terrain and build a gravel access road — processes that are right in line with the first steps to going solar.