Mike Isaac

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Apple Plans a Reno Solar Farm to Power Its Data Center

appleSolarIn conjunction with Nevada utility company NV Energy, Apple plans to build a solar array next to its Reno, Nev., data center, eventually powering the center as well as providing energy to the surrounding community, the company said on Monday.

The new solar farm, which was first unearthed by GigaOm’s Katie Fehrenbacher, is in addition to two previously announced centers in Maiden, N.C. It’s also in line with Apple’s continued efforts to move to renewable energy in its facilities; Apple’s manufacturing site in Cork, Ireland, is powered entirely by wind, while sites in Elk Grove, Calif., and Austin, Texas, are powered completely by renewable energy as well.

“All of Apple’s data centers use 100 percent renewable energy, and we are on track to meet that goal in our new Reno data center using the latest in high-efficiency concentrating solar panels,” Apple said in a statement. “This project will not only supply renewable energy for our data center but also provide clean energy to the local power grid, through a first-of-its-kind partnership with NV Energy.”

“When completed, the 137-acre solar array will generate approximately 43.5 million kilowatt hours of clean energy, equivalent to taking 6,400 passenger vehicles off the road per year,” Apple said.

Apple’s new facility could directly and indirectly support more than 1,000 jobs in and around Washoe County related to the efforts, as well as “result in, over a 10-year period, a total of $24.1 million in direct and indirect revenues in Nevada,” according to a survey by Applied Economics for the state of Nevada.

The goal for Apple is to eventually power all its facilities with 100 percent renewable energy.

“Renewable energy projects are vital to our future, so it’s exciting to see an innovative company like Apple find creative ways to invest in solar power for its data centers,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a nonprofit sustainability advocacy group. “As solar and other renewable sources become more competitive each year, we expect to see more companies following Apple’s lead.”

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— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google