updated 03:05 pm EST, Mon February 20, 2012
Array among largest in US, Apple claims
Apple is promoting a forthcoming solar array at its Maiden, North Carolina datacenter as a part of its newly-released 2012 environmental report. The company claims that when it is finished, the facility will be the largest end-user-owned solar array in the US, generating 42 million kWh of power. It also says it has won LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council.
"We know of no other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification," the company states. "Our goal is to run the Maiden facility with high percentage renewable energy mix." Plans for a solar array have been known since October, but today marks the first time the company has publicly acknowledged them.
Apple is also at work on a 5MW fuel cell installation due to open later in 2012. The facility is promoted as being powered entirely by biogas, with an output of over 40 million kWh of energy annually. In relative comparison, it will supposedly be the biggest non-utility fuel cell facility in the US.
Elsewhere in the report Apple states that it generated 23 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in 2011. Of this, 98 percent was connected to the company's products. 61 percent was specifically linked to manufacturing, including extraction of raw materials. 30 percent is said to have come from actual product use, while 5 percent came from shipping products for sale, and 2 percent was connected to recycling.
The non-product pollution emanated from facilities such as offices and distribution centers. About 30,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions are said to have been eliminated by using purely renewable energy in several facilities, namely ones in Austin, Texas; Sacramento, California; Munich, Germany, and lastly Cork, Ireland. "Apple continues to install state-of-the-art digital controls, high-efficiency mechanical equipment, and monitoring technology. Of course, we use energy-efficient Apple computers in all our facilities," Apple remarks.