Apple has a long-standing goal to run data centers in an environmentally-responsible manner. Its latest project is an 18-megawatt photovoltaic solar plant constructed just east of Reno in Yerington, Nevada. Apple will use this plant to provide energy for its new Reno cloud data center that will serve Northern Nevada.
We at Titan Power understand that one of the most important components of reliable data center management is power management. There are several requirements for data center power, including:
- Clean power – energy must not contain interference or transients that can damage sensitive computer equipment
- Uninterruptable supply – power must be constant. Modern data center reliability specifications allow little room for down time due to power outages.
- Power capacity – each server consumes as much energy as several light bulbs. Some data centers consume enough power to light a small city.
As the demand for cloud-based services increases, the need for reliable power grows as well.
Impact on the Environment
Energy generation can have a significant impact on the environment. Using fossil fuels to generate electricity can cause several well-known problems for the environment. In addition, the amount of fossil fuels is limited. Analysts predict we will have exhausted the world’s supply in several decades. For these reasons, power industries have worked to develop renewable energy sources that have a minimal impact on the environment. One of the best of these strategies is solar power.
Apple’s Solar Power Strategy
The Reno power plant is not Apple’s first effort into creating renewable energy. It already supplies its largest U.S. data center with solar power. Located in Maiden, North Carolina, the Apple facility produces 167 million kilowatt hours. This is the same amount of energy that powers 18,000 homes for a year. The North Carolina power plant is a 100-acre solar farm and fuel cell installation constructed by Bloom Energy. It currently provides 60% of the energy for the associated data center. Apple purchases the remainder of its energy from local sources providing clean, renewable energy.
The Reno plant will not only supply 100% of the datacenter’s requirement, it will provide additional energy to the grid managed by NV Energy. Apple has contracted SunPower to construct the Nevada solar array. Apple explains that all of its datacenters run on 100% renewable energy, and that they are on track to continue this commitment with their Reno facility.
New Data Centers Using Solar Power
At Titan Power, we support the efforts of Apple in providing clean, reliable energy sources for their datacenters. As companies plan new datacenter construction, we are ready to provide design, construction, and maintenance which will meet their energy needs as well.