Apple’s North Carolina Data Center Now Entirely Powered By The Sun (With Some Help From Sheep)

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Solar Panels in Maules Creek

Folks love to complain about Apple, but I figure that a lot of that bitching is down to the inadequacies of the bitchers themselves: It’s easier to just whine about something than to strive for greatness yourself. Which is to say, Apple is far from perfect, but it tries harder than almost anyone else. And the new solar farm which powers it’s North Carolina data center is a great example of this.

One of the advantages of having a company founded by California hippies is that it can totally get away with spendings hundreds of millions of dollars on solar panels and fuel cells. Two solar farms and a fuel-cell center (the green version of a UPS?) have now opened for business and are providing more than enough juice to power the data center, putting out 50MW (the center requires 40MW, according to GigaOm’s Katie Fehrenbacher).

The second, further-away solar farm actually pumps its power into the grid, and Apple then takes the equivalent back out in the conventional manner. But the best part is that Apple has actually contracted somebody to graze sheep around the panels to keep the grass under control.

This is pretty great. At home I try to use as little power as possible, but there’s not much I can do about the power needed to supply the internet itself. Now Apple is setting an example, hopefully other companies will copy it as enthusiastically as they copy Apple’s hardware and software designs.

Source: GigaOm