Apple to Install Solar Farm at iCloud Data Center

CC BY 2.0. Futureatlas

Futureatlas/CC BY 2.0

When Mat wrote about 5 note worthy green moments in Steve Jobs' tenure as Apple CEO, he praised Apple's efforts on energy efficiency, but argued that it was very important to ask where the power it does use is coming from. That question has become increasingly pertinent asApple has rolled out iCloud, with the energy hungry nature of data centers suggesting that the company needs to tackle not just its energy usage, but its energy sourcing too.

There are signs that such an effort is well underway.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Apple has been awarded permits for preliminary construction work for a solar farm on a 171-acre site that it owns across from its data center in Maiden, North Carolina—a billion dollar facility that PC Mag says is believed to house support for the iCloud.

Details are very sketchy at this stage as to the size of the solar farm, or the timeline for implementation, but given that this would mark a shift from buying Duke Energy's primarily coal and nuclear sourced electricity, and to supporting 100% clean, renewable energy, it is a very positive sign. As the Charlotte Observer notes, plants in Austin, Texas; Sacramento, Calif.; and Cork, Ireland are already powered by 100% renewable energy.

With Google investing in residential solar power, wind farms and desert solar power plants; and with everyone from Wal-Mart to IKEA investing in large-scale renewable energy, we are increasingly witnessing an realignment of some major corporate interests to the technologies and the mindset of the next industrial revolution.

The competition had better shape up or ship out. But as I asked in my post on whether corporations should enact their own green stimulus measures, the question for us lowly green activists is how do we encourage more of the same?