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Farm will help power the section of the grid responsible for powering Apple's Nevada data center

As cloud services become more and more vital to Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) gadgets -- particularly those of a mobile variety -- the company is adding a great deal of capacity to its U.S. data centers.  Its latest addition was a massive data center in Maiden, North Carolina.  Current work is focused on building a massive new headquarters in the San Francisco area.

But Apple doesn't want run-of-the-mill data centers.  It's looking to build its brand image and potentially capitalize on long term cost savings by financing massive on-site or adjacent alternative energy farms.  The new N.C. data center is a standout thus far, with the nation's largest private solar farm in the IT space.  The farm produces enough juice to power the equivalent of 17,600 homes on a daily basis -- or roughly 167m kilowatt hours (kWh) annually.  Situated on 100 acres of land, the farm uses fuel cells from startup Bloom Energy for storing power to use when the sun isn't shining.

Now Apple has announced similar plans for its Reno, Nevada data center, according to Reuters.

The western data center is currently powered by Sierra Pacific Power Comp.  The new solar farm will feed directly into the grid, and is expected to negate 43.5m kWh worth of power use annually.

Apple green energy
Apple is backing up its renewable energy promises. [Image Source: Apple]

Apple gave no specifics on how much land the farm uses or when it is expected to be fully operation.  It did however, reveal one partner for the project -- Sierra Power Pacific's parent, NV Energy, Inc. (NVE).  NV Energy has some marquee billing; it was recently acquired by Berkshire Hathaway, Inc. (BRH/A) subsidiary MidAmerican Energy Holdings Comp.

After getting knocked by environmental advocacy Greenpeace in 2012, Apple looked to prove itself, expanding its global alternative energy portfolio aggressively over the last year. Currently 75 percent of Apple's power comes from renewable sources.  The company says on one of its publicity pages that it plans to reach 100 percent in years to come.

Source: Reuters

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By KOOLTIME on 7/3/2013 12:49:27 PM , Rating: 1
Same problem with electric cars over gas, the range of electric car is 60ish miles or so average on most of them, gas car's can get 300+.

Solar same deal, why most residential home owners outside the very rich, are converting to solar. The panels to install do not outweigh the cost of any energy savings at all.

The amount to install on a typical home is about 50k, the years to even start saving money on a return of that investment is more then 10 years.

That's were the problem lies. Most people don't realize the solar panel's and parts needed for the energy for all that, warranty and life time is 10 years or less for most parts. So when they wear out, need to replace them aka another huge 20-40k expense on new panels before you even see your 1st install savings return on investment. That's the real issue of solar today. In the consumer market, for low density places like homes or small businesses which is typically 90% of the buildings in the USA. Only high Density like a data center will the power use exceed such a expense to make up for the less then 10 year turn around.

By aurareturn on 7/3/2013 2:24:52 PM , Rating: 2
The value of your home increases if you were to sell it with solar panels.

By JediJeb on 7/3/2013 5:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
Unless those solar panels are 10 years old and nearing the end of their life.

If I was purchasing a home, I would not consider old solar panels to increase the value at all. Plus another down side is the increased home value just means you will be paying higher property taxes, which at best may be offset if you get enough tax breaks for installing them.

By flyingpants1 on 7/3/2013 6:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
Solar panels installed in 1970 still work just fine.

By nomagic on 7/4/2013 1:10:43 AM , Rating: 2
Standard warranties offered in the market offer 90% rated power output for 10 years and an 80% rated power output for 25 years.

I have seen panels that last far longer than 10 years, and they work just fine.

Check your facts.

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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