James Hamilton is a former datacenter architect for Microsoft and the current datacenter guy for Amazon. In a recent blog post, he examines solar-powered data centers which he says are "really somewhere between a bad idea and pure marketing, where the environmental impact is purely optical." As you can guess from that statement, he isn't too fond of Apple's solar farm setup in Maiden, North Carolina.
Hamilton, on the one hand, applauds Apple for the solar-power installment at its North Carolina datacenter
. He notes that the solar farm is the largest commercial deployment in the US at 20 megawatts, and, because of its size, has a "far better chance to work economically than other smaller installments."
Though he commends Apple for its efforts, he also questions whether it's a wise move. Despite its size, Hamilton says the solar farm will provide photo voltaic power for only 4% of Apple's total estimated data center consumption. Hamilton notes that Apple cleared 171 acres of land in order to build its solar farm and wonders if this 171-acre parcel of woodlands is worth such a small portion of Apple's power needs?