iCloud to be powered by the sun?

Future iPhones, like Superman, to be powered by the sun?

Sorry, but when the Charlotte Observer reported that Apple was planning to build a solar farm across from their massive North Carolina data center, that's the headline that popped into mind.

Permits issued by Catawba County show that the Cupertino, Calif., company has been approved to reshape the slope of some of the 171 acres of vacant land it owns on Startown Road, opposite the data center, in preparation of building a solar farm.

Source: The Charlotte Observer

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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iCloud to be powered by the sun?

14 Comments

The roof on that data center spans several acres, I wonder if they are going to use that space too. It's great to see a PRIVATE company investing in green energy and not the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT messing with the free market. (See: Solyndra Debacle)

The most conservative estimates of annual subsidies for oil and gas producers are $4 billion per year. Higher end estimates, which toss in ethanol/corn subsidies among other things, kick it up to about $19 billion.
Even at the low end, we could roll the dice and lose everything on 7.5 Solyndras EVERY YEAR and not reach the outlay given to oil and gas producers. I'd rather take a chance on a disruptive technology then keep flushing it down the toilet after an old one. The federal government distorts the market billions more in favor of oil and gas every year than it has in total over its entire history in favor of green energy.
You want the federal government out of green energy until the market deems them competitive sources? Fine -- then allow a competitive market in the first place.

I have worked on a data center construction project on the East cost up North and that is exactly what they did. The roof of the facility was filled with solor panels. Great idea.

I wondered the same thing.
Intel in Folsom used land NEXT to their parking lot instead of putting the panels above the cars in the existing parking lot. Hot cars. Wasted land. Seems dumb.

The roof on that data center spans several acres, I wonder if they are going to use that space too. It's great to see a PRIVATE company investing in green energy and not the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT messing with the free market. (See: Solyndra Debacle)

It's a good start. Google, MS, and Yahoo have gone on record as using solar, wind, and hydro extensively, though the combination cannot fully power a large data center.
It is more interesting that Apple built in North Carolina at all, when the trend has been to locate data centers in colder climates whenever possible to save on energy required. Presumably, Apple had other needs that outweighed those savings, but those savings can be quite larger.
Yahoo estimated that half of energy used by their average data center goes to cooling. At their data center in Buffalo NY, they estimated cooling demands would be so much lighter that only 10% of its energy would be needed to cool.
Of course, Buffalo is not known for its solar farms :) ...

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