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Apple touts solar array at North Carolina Data Center

Steve Sande, @stevensande
February 20, 2012
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Apple has updated its Apple and the Environment web page with information about the huge new data center in Maiden, North Carolina. This US$1 billion, 500,000 square foot facility is the home of Siri and part of the backbone of iCloud. Not only has the facility already earned a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification, but the company has plans to power the facility primarily with renewable energy.

According to Apple, the LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council is unique -- "We know of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification." As for the renewable energy plans, Apple notes that they have "major projects under way to achieve this."

Those projects include building the largest end user-owned solar array and non-utility fuel cell installation in the U.S. Last October, Apple received the OK from Catawba County officials to reshape 171 acres of land adjacent to the data center in preparation for installation of the photovoltaic solar array.

The Maiden data center won't be the first Apple facility to use renewable energy: The Apple Facility Report for 2011 notes that company sites in Elk Grove, California, Cork, Ireland, and Austin, Texas use 100 percent renewable energy resources. Apple also added biogas-powered fuel cells at the Cupertino campus in late 2010 to reduce carbon emissions.

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