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Apple’s Secret Solar Farm [Updated]

Published on October 26, 2011
by John Paczkowski

When Apple next breaks ground in Maiden, N.C., it won’t be to build a second data center alongside its vast Catawba County facility. Instead, it will be to construct a massive solar farm to power it.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Apple has been issued the permits necessary to prepare the 171-acre parcel of vacant land adjacent to the data center for a new construction project. The name of that undertaking: “Project Dolphin Solar Farm A Expanded,” a riff on the data center’s original code name.

Details beyond that are slim, but sources close to Apple confirm that the Catawba County solar project is indeed under way.

Which makes perfect sense, really. A solar farm would be in keeping with Apple’s commitment to renewable energy. Appleā€™s manufacturing site in Cork, Ireland, is entirely wind-powered, and its Elk Grove, Calif., and Austin, Texas, facilities are now powered by 100 percent renewable energy resources, according to the company’s 2011 Facilities Report Environmental Update.

The Project Dolphin Solar Farm would advance this commitment even further by establishing an on-site resource for renewable energy generation and setting the bar a bit higher for an industry whose pollution-limiting efforts extend no further than purchasing renewable energy credits.

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