Official: Apple’s NC Data Centre to be 100% Renewably Powered, 60% from On-Site Fuel Cells and Solar

21 May 2012

Apple Data Centre Map

In February Apple sparked interest with the release of its Facilities Report 2012 Environmental Update, which stated the company’s intention to sustainably power its gargantuan 500,000 square foot Maiden, North Carolina data centre through the construction of: a 20 MW, 100 acre onsite solar array to provide 42 million kWh renewable annual baseload; and a 5 MW biogas-fed fuel cell installation to provide 42 million kWh renewable annual baseload.

At the end of March Apple filed its plans for its fuel cell installation with the State of North Carolina Utilities Commission; the filing detailed the fuel cells with specifications that directly matched those of Bloom Energy’s ES-5700 200 kW Energy Server and at Bloom Energy’s East Coast ground-breaking in Delaware at the end of last month its CEO KR Sridhar confirmed that the installation would indeed be from Bloom.

Now, in a manner as low-key as the original announcement in its Facilities Report, Apple has confirmed its plans with the addition of a ‘Data Centers and Renewable Energy’ page to its Apple and the Environment microsite. Apple states:

Apple’s data center in Maiden, North Carolina, will draw about 20 megawatts of power at full capacity. We’ll be producing an unprecedented 60 percent of this power onsite. To do that, we’re building what will be the nation’s largest private solar arrays and the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating anywhere in the country. That’s a scale of onsite renewable energy production that no other company has matched. Onsite energy generation minimizes our dependence on the grid and reduces our environmental impact. And when our solar arrays and fuel cells are operating, Apple’s Maiden data center will be the most environmentally sound data center ever built.

The remaining 40% of power will be procured, but from renewable sources, thus making Apple’s data centre 100% renewably powered. The data centre itself was designed with energy efficiency in mind and is the only such data centre to be LEED Platinum certified. The site joins 100% renewably powered operations centres in Austin (Texas), Sacramento (California), Cork (Ireland) and Munich (Germany) though this has predominantly been achieved via renewable power purchase. The company’s headquarters in Cupertino (California) is 50% renewably powered, some of which comes from an on-site Bloom Energy fuel cell installation.

The company is in the process of securing renewable power provision for its data centre in Newark, California and its upcoming data centre in Prineville, Oregon.

Apple Data Centre Footer

Reference & images: Apple

Industry Directory: Bloom Energy


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