Apple says its $1 billion data center in Maiden, N.C., will include a second large solar farm to help power the site entirely by renewable energy by the end of this year.
The 500,000-square-foot center will draw about 20 megawatts of power at full capacity, the company says, and produce 60 percent of it on-site. Apple says it will buy the other 40 percent directly from local and regional renewable-energy sources.
Greenpeace has pressured Apple for months over use of coal by Duke Energy, which serves the area, and more recently the use of diesel-powered backup generators.
The North Carolina Utilities Commission granted a permit for a 20-megawatt solar farm in Maiden. Apple now says it will build a second farm a few miles away.
Apple is also seeking state approval of a 4.8-megawatt fuel cell installation in Maiden that it says will be the nation's largest non-utility project. The commission has yet to rule on that project.
Together, Apple says, the projects will produce 124 million kilowatt-hours of energy, enough to supply 10,874 homes. The actual output will be registered with North Carolina's Renewable Energy Tracking System set up by the utilities commission.
Apple says it runs its facilities in Austin, Sacramento, Cork, Ireland and Munich wholly on renewable energy. Its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters now gets more than half its energy from renewable sources including fuel cells.
Explore further: Pollution top concern for U.S. and Canadian citizens around Great Lakes
More information: © 2012, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
Distributed by MCT Information Services