Apple to Build Largest Private Solar Array in the US

Apple to Build Largest Private Solar Array in the US

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Apple facility in Maiden NCThe world’s most valuable company, Apple, has announced plans to build America’s largest private onsite solar array at their North Carolina data center.

Apple’s data center in Maiden is already one of the most energy-efficient of its kind, earning a coveted LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Add to this their plans to add on the largest nonutility fuel cell installation in the United States, and you see their environmental commitment in full fruition.

The new 20-megawatt solar array will cover 100-acres and supply 42 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy to the data center every year. The fuel cell installation will be powered by 100 percent biogas and provide more than 40 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy annually.

The sustainable design of the data center itself, commissioned in 2011, includes these energy-efficient elements:

  • A system to improve efficiency by transferring 10,400 kWh of electricity consumption from peak to off-peak hours each day
  • Use of “free” outside air cooling during night and cool-weather hours, which allows the chillers to be turned off more than 75 percent of the time
  • Extreme precision in managing variable-speed fans to exactly match server requirements from moment to moment
  • White cool-roof design to provide maximum solar reflectivity
  • High-efficiency LED lighting combined with motion sensors

Additionally, the construction processes utilized 14 percent recycled materials, diverted 93 percent of construction waste from landfills, and sourced 41 percent of purchased materials within 500 miles of the site, according the Apple.