1. Articles in category: Solar

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    1. Apple datacenter's fuel cells to be fully ready in November

      Apple datacenter's fuel cells to be fully ready in November

      Apple's upcoming fuel cell system for its Maiden, North Carolina datacenter should be ready just before the end of the year, according to new details. A filing mid-week at the North Carolina Utilities Commission has shown that the first fuel cell system will be ready in June, with all six up and running by November 30. Each of the systems, made by Bloom Energy, takes methane from animal byproducts and landfills, and combined should produce between 24 to 200 kilowatts across four individual fuel cells. The power choice is now known to be unusually expensive in a gesture that's likely both goodwill and symbolic. Although Apple could have gone for other clean energy methods that would get a 30 percent tax credit, fuel cells are currently exempt. Apple's fuel cell combo is unofficially estimated to cost $30 million and would would be a public demonstration that it ...

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    2. Burning Green Energy's Chances of Survival

      Burning Green Energy's Chances of Survival

      Some prominent environmental groups are suing to stop a proposed solar farm in Northern California. But that litigation is just one of the hurdles that green projects must overcome. Besides surviving the permitting process, renewable energy interests must also find the space on transmission lines, if they can get them built. Like any utility-type project, wind and solar plants must go through the regulatory maze. It’s always an arduous process that most often results in compromises, which includes either a relocation of a proposed facility or some promise to reinvest profits in environmental awareness.

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    3. Another Perspective on Solar at Data Centers

      Another Perspective on Solar at Data Centers

      In February, word leaked that Apple will install a 20 megawatt solar farm—the largest customer-sited solar array in the U.S—at its data center in Maiden, North Carolina, dubbed by some as the ‘iDataCenter’.  The project has reinvigorated the debate on the potential role of solar at data centers. Can solar make a meaningful contribution to reduce the environmental impact of energy-intensive data centers or is it simply an expensive marketing tool? Two weeks ago, James Hamilton of Amazon Web Servi

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    4. Amazon Queries Facebook And Apple’s Solar Plans

      Amazon Queries Facebook And Apple’s Solar Plans

      E-commerce and web company Amazon has sparked a controversy by saying its rival’s solar power implementations are “somewhere between a bad idea and pure marketing.” Facebook has solar panels at its Oregon site, and Apple is planning a large solar farm at its iDataCenter in North Carolina, but Amazon’s web services efficiency specialist has examined their likely contributions in a blog post and dismissed their contribution to the data centres they serve.

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    5. Vigilent Raises $6.7M for Big Data-Style Data Center Efficiency

      Vigilent Raises $6.7M for Big Data-Style Data Center Efficiency

      Keeping data centers energy-efficient takes quite a bit of data crunching if you’re going to do it right. How to scale up to that big data challenge is an interesting IT challenge in itself. Vigilent says it’s got the solution to tackle the challenge, and just raised its first publicly announced venture round of $6.7 million led by Accel Partners to bring it to broader markets. Vigilent is the new name of long-time data center facility management technology company Federspiel Controls. Since 2004, it has built software to connect with the chillers, air handlers, variable-speed fans, and all the other gear that keeps servers cool enough to do their jobs, as well as the sensors that tell temperature, humidity, wind speed and other key variables.

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    6. Amazon IT Guru Questions Facebook, Apple Solar Arrays

      Amazon IT Guru Questions Facebook, Apple Solar Arrays

      One of Amazon’s leading data-center experts has called into question the environmental logic behind large solar farms recently installed or proposed by Facebook and Apple. In a recent blog post, James Hamilton writes that he couldn’t ”make the math work” for the completed solar array at Facebook’s Prinevill, Ore., facility or the proposed system at Apple’s iDataCenter in Maiden, N.C., and questioned whether the solar farms’ environmental impact was “purely optical.” Facebook’s 100 kW array was installed at a 25 MW facility meaning, according to Hamilton, that it potentially provides just 0.4 percent of the facility’s overall power.

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    7. Video: Apple Preps Solar Power Site for iDataCenter

      Video: Apple Preps Solar Power Site for iDataCenter

      It takes a lot of land to build a 20 megawatt array of solar panels. Apple has been busy clearing land in Maiden, North Carolina, where the company has announced plans for a huge field of photovoltaic solar panels to support its data center facility. A new aerial video shot this month by Five 9s Digital provides a sense of the scope of the property being dedicated to the new solar array. The land for the solar facility is across the road from the 500,000 square foot iDataCenter.

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      Mentions: Apple
    8. Is Solar Power for Data Centers a Bad Idea?

      Is Solar Power for Data Centers a Bad Idea?

      Solar power has become the hot new accessory for major data centers. In the past several years, arrays of photovoltaic solar panels have been announced for data centers from Apple, Facebook, Cisco and Emerson Network Power. But do these solar arrays make sense, given the current economics of solar energy and the volume of power required to support a modern data center? James Hamilton of Amazon Web Services, who often presents on data center economics at industry conferences, challenges the wisdom of solar in a new blog post.

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    9. I Love Solar Power But...

      I Love Solar Power But...

      Ilove solar power, but in reflecting carefully on a couple of high profile datacenterdeployments of solar power, I’m really developing serious reservations that this isthe path to reducing data center environmental impact. I just can’t make the mathwork and find myself wondering if these large solar farms are really somewhere betweena bad idea and pure marketing, where the environmental impact is purely optical.   FacebookPrineville The first of my two examples is the high profileinstallation of a large solar array at the FacebookPrineville Oregon Facility. Theinstallation of 100 kilowatts of solar power was the culmination of the unfriendcoal campaign run by Greenpeace.Many in the industry believe the campaign worked.  Inthe purest sense, I suppose it did. But let’s look at the data more closely and makesure this really is environmental progress. What was installed in Prineville was a100 kilowatt solar array at a more than 25 megawatt ...

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    10. Valley clean energy innovation can prosper, it just takes awhile

      Valley clean energy innovation can prosper, it just takes awhile

      Two Silicon Valley-backed Bay Area companies appear to be the tech vendors behind Apple’s new sizable and pioneering clean power push at its massive data center in North Carolina. Last week it was revealed that solar panel maker SunPower will provide Apple with panels for a 20 MW solar farm, while I reported earlier this month that fuel cell maker Bloom Energy looks to be the vendor behind Apple’s 5 MW fuel cell farm. The significance of Apple opting to partner with two Valley-born clean power firms illustrates that the greentech venture ecosystem can work — it just takes quite a long time.

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    11. ‘Energy Park’ Proposed at Nexus of Fiber, Power

      ‘Energy Park’ Proposed at Nexus of Fiber, Power

      With a growing focus on harnessing renewable energy to power huge computing clouds, will data center operators get into the energy business? Or will utilities entice cloud operators to build data centers adjacent to energy hubs?

      Developer Craig Harrison of Harrison Resource Corp. envisions a project that brings together the ingredients to support either scenario. Working with IDC Architects/CH2M Hill, Harrison has proposed an “energy park” on 644 acres of land near the Colorado-Wyoming border, at the intersection of key fiber, power and natural gas infrastructure.

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    12. San Jose's SunPower to provide solar panels for Apple's new data center

      San Jose's SunPower to provide solar panels for Apple's new data center

      San Jose-based SunPower (SPWRA) has landed a plum contract: Its solar panels will generate electricity for Apple's (AAPL) massive new data center in Maiden, N.C., according to a filing with regulators in that state. Apple has said renewable energy--solar panels and fuels cells--will power a "high percentage" of the data center's overall electricity needs, leading to speculation in Silicon Valley's clean tech industry about who its technology partners are. "Apple is building the nation's largest end user-owned, onsite solar array on the land surrounding the data center," the company said in its recently released 7-page facilities report. "When completed, this 100-acre, 20-megawatt facility will supply 42 million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy annually." One megawatt is enough to power 750 to 1,000 homes. But because the sun doesn't shine all the time, solar industry experts say, 1 megawatt of solar power capacity is ...

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    13. More Details on Apple's NC Solar Farm

      More Details on Apple's NC Solar Farm

      One month after revealing plans for a big solar project at its new data farm in North Carolina, Apple has opened the kimono a bit more to show the project's planned output, ready date, and one of the key partners. Last month Apple disclosed plans to partly power its giant new data farm in Maiden, NC, with a 20 megawatt (MW) solar system. (Also part of the plan is a smaller fuel cell system, possibly supplied by Bloom Energy). Today, the San Jose Mercury News picked up on a new filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) that lays out more details about the proposed 100-acre project, including size, possible cost, and the main technology supplier.

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      Mentions: Apple Bloom Energy
    14. Top 5 Data Center Stories, Week of Feb. 24th

      Top 5 Data Center Stories, Week of Feb. 24th

      For your weekend reading, here’s a recap of five noteworthy stories that appeared on Data Center Knowledge this past week. Enjoy! Apple Confirms Plans for Oregon Data Center – Apple has bought 160 acres of land in Prineville, Oregon, and plans to build a major data center in the rural town, which is already home to a huge Facebook data center campus. A deed filed last week shows that Apple has purchased the land from Crook County for $5.6 million, according to the Central Oregonian.

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      Mentions: Apple Europe Google
    15. Towards a More Energy-Efficient Data Center

      Towards a More Energy-Efficient Data Center

      We recently saw the European Commission recognize 27 IBM Data Centers for energy efficiency. The commission, the executive body of the European Union, was going by the EU’s Code of Conduct for Data Centers, and we’re not 100 percent sure what requirements that entails, but we do know it’s A Good Thing. In fact, as IBM officials said in a press statement, the honor represents “the largest portfolio of data centers from a single company to receive the recognition.”The idea is to reduce energy consumption “in a cost-effective manner without decreasing mission critical data center functions,” IBM officials said, using certain established best practices.

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    16. Apple Updates Environmental Policy, Confirms Plans for Oregon Data Center

      Apple Updates Environmental Policy, Confirms Plans for Oregon Data Center

      Apple announced on Tuesday it has updated its environmental policy, which include providing further details about its massive new $1 billion, 500,000-square-foot data center in Maiden, North Carolina. Apple continues to expand its data center footprint as the company makes a gradual shift into cloud computing with its iCloud storage service and data-intensive features like Apple TV, Siri and cross-device gaming. This fifth data center build joins Apple’s existing facilities in Cork, Munich, California and already existing in North Carolina.

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      Mentions: Apple Facebook
    17. 5 reasons why Apple is embracing clean power for its data center

      5 reasons why Apple is embracing clean power for its data center

      Seemingly all of a sudden Apple is charging ahead with one of the most aggressive clean power projects for a data center in the U.S. Apple is planning on building a 20 MW solar farm and a 5 MW fuel cell farm at its massive data center in Maiden, North Carolina. Now the real question is why? I’ve been thinking about the logistics of combining data centers and clean power over the past few years, and here’s 5 reasons why I think Apple is embracing clean power right now:

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      Mentions: Apple
    18. Apple Unveils Details Of Massive Solar Project

      Apple Unveils Details Of Massive Solar Project

      iCloud, Siri

      The Maiden facility is used to power cloud efforts such as iCloud and the voice command service Siri. A study published in January found that users of the iPhone 4S consume twice as much data as the iPhone 4, and three times as much as the iPhone 3GS, in part due to the large amounts of data traffic generated by Siri.

      Apple said it has eliminated 30,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions through the use of facilities in California, Texas, Ireland and Germany running entirely on renewable energy. The company has been shamed in the past for its reliance on “dirty” power sources and the North Carolina facility in particular was criticised last year by Greenpeace, which said it indicated a “lack of a corporate commitment to clean energy supply” for its cloud operations. North Carolina has an electrical grid that is among the dirtiest ...

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    19. Apple Plans 20MW of Solar Power for iDataCenter

      Apple Plans 20MW of Solar Power for iDataCenter

      Apple has revealed new details about the operations of its huge data center in Maiden, North Carolina, including plans to build a 20-megawatt solar power facility to support its operations. Apple also plans to use a fuel cell powered by biogas that could generate up to 5 megawatts of power. The Apple facility would be the largest solar array dedicated to data center operations, surpassing a 14 megawatt array being built to support the McGraw-Hill data center in East Windsor, New Jersey. Apple disclosed its renewable energy ambitions in Maiden in the company’s latest environmental report.

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      Mentions: Apple Google Facebook
    20. Apple reveals big solar, fuel cell plans for data center

      Apple reveals big solar, fuel cell plans for data center

      A few months ago it was revealed that Apple planned to build a solar array for its massive data center in North Carolina. Now according to Apple’s latest environmental report (hat tip CNET), the company has disclosed that its solar project will actually be pretty sizable at 20 MW, and it will be built on 100 acres, and will supply the company with 42 million kWh of solar power per year. Apple calls the 20 MW solar project “the nation’s largest end user–owned, onsite solar array.” There’s other much larger solar PV projects being built in the U.S. by solar developers, which sell the solar power to utilities, like the 500 MW Blythe solar PV project, the 550 MW Topaz solar project and the 230 MW Antelope Valley solar project. But in terms of corporate user-owned solar projects, Apple’s is a big one.

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      Mentions: Apple Bloom Energy
    21. Pictures: A Rare Look Inside China's Energy Machine

      Pictures: A Rare Look Inside China's Energy Machine

      A photographer gains an inside look at China’s massive power complex, and at efforts by the world’s largest energy consumer to spur cleaner future growth.

      China's energy use, production, and ambitions are best captured by superlatives: The country is the world's largest energy consumer, and leading source of greenhouse gas emissions.

      To power its tremendous economic growth, China has called on every fuel, every technology. It is the largest producer of coal and its greatest consumer, and yet China has more nuclear reactors under construction than any other nation. Its growing appetite for oil has kept gasoline prices high around the globe. And yet China's commitment to wind and solar power is so outsized that its young industries are now among the largest in the world.

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    22. Green Energy Profit Crash Deters New CEOs

      Green Energy Profit Crash Deters New CEOs

      Renewable energy companies are losing their allure with top executives after profits and stock prices collapsed across the industry, making it more difficult for boards to replace underperforming managers. First Solar Inc., the biggest U.S. solar company, ousted its chief executive officer in October and is still seeking a replacement. At Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the largest turbine maker, the chairman and finance director are leaving after the company cut sales forecasts twice in three months, and CEO Ditlev Engel said his own job is safe.

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      Mentions: Barack Obama
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