Apple moves forward on solar powered data centre

Apple Inc. intends to build a solar farm in to power its planned data centre in Reno, Nev.

The computer company will build the 18-megawatt solar power plant with the help of NV Energy Inc., a public utility which generates and distributes electric services in northern and southern Nevada. The data centre will be built in Lyon County south of the solar farm.

“In Reno, we will take advantage of Nevada’s excellent natural solar radiation and geothermal resources to completely meet the energy needs of our data centre,” Apple said in its Web site.
(The servers at Apple’s Maiden, North carolina data centre are housed in cold air containment pods with variable-speed fans controlled to exactly match airflow-to-server requirements from moment to moment. Source: Apple)

The energy produced by the planned solar farm will go to the Sierra Pacific Power Plant Co.’s electric grid which serves the area where the Apple data centre will be built.

Once completed, it is estimated to be capable of generating 43.5 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy.


The company said the new data centre will draw from Apple’s experiences in using renewable energy in its other data centres.

Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina data centre is powered by a solar array that produces 42 million kilowatt hour of low-carbon, renewable energy. The facility also uses biogas and “free” outside cold and a chilled water cooling system to cool servers 75 per cent of the time. The renewable energy produced by Apple onsite is enough to power 17,600 homes for a year.

Apple’s Newark, Calif. data centre uses 100 per cent renewable energy from wind mills; and its Pineville, Ore. Data centre uses a combination of wind, hydroelectric and solar energy.

The 137-acre solar plant in Reno will still require approval from state regulators.

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