When I posted on Apple's plans to install a large solar array at an NC data center, details were still sketchy. But those details are beginning to come into focus, and it seems that big really does mean BIG.
Apple has just updated its environmental performance web page, and among the updates is the tid-bit that it will include the largest end user-owned solar array in the country, as well as a sizeable fuel cell powered by biogas:
Our new data center in Maiden, North Carolina, demonstrates our commitment to reducing the environmental impact of our facilities through energy-efficient, green building design. The facility has earned the coveted LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. We know of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification. Our goal is to run the Maiden facility with high percentage renewable energy mix, and we have major projects under way to achieve this — including building the nation’s largest end user-owned solar array and building the largest nonutility fuel cell installation in the United States.
The company's facilities report (PDF) tells us that the solar array will be sized at 20MW, and that the fuel cell will have a capacity of 5MW. Of course renewable energy is just one part of the puzzle, so it is good to see that the facility also features a cool roof, a chilled water storage system to improve chiller efficiency, LED lighting, and a high use of reclaimed and recycled materials in construction.
Given the gigantic solar roof planned for the new Apple HQ, it seems the company is upping its clean tech credentials. With Google investing vast sums in solar, it's not just a good moral choice but a smart piece of competitive strategy.