At around 5MW, Apple’s new solar roof could make it among the biggest in the US, power a million AppleTVs

Today’s updated Apple Headquarters Spaceship campus plans include a roof made almost entirely out of solar cells, according to details released today. With a building as large as Apple’s, that puts it in the top corporate solar installations in the world and the biggest in the US.  The current title holder is the 4.26 MW system in Edison New Jersey and another being built by ToysRus in sunny NJ is rated 5.38MW


From today’s plans

From today’s plans, we can estimate the roof surface area to be over 750,000 square feet.  Assuming (conservatively) 2/3rds of that, or 500,000 square feet of that is utilized for solar, that gives Apple close to a 5MW installation on the amin building alone. On average or as a general “rule of thumb” modern photovoltaics (PV) solar panels will produce up to 10 watts per square foot of solar panel area.  Since Cupertino is generally favorable in terms of weather and Apple will obviously use the latest Solar technology developed in the coming years, that could give Apple over 5,000,000 Watts of power to play with.  Additionally, Apple has a few other buildings on campus that could be outfitted with solar roofs. The plans list a photovoltaic roof canopy of 320,000 sq.ft. just on the parking building. Read more

Apple building 174 acre solar farm to power North Carolina data center

Charlotte Observer is reporting that Apple has begun work building a 174 acre solar farm to power their new Maiden, North Carolina data center. The data center, located in Catawba County, was revealed by Steve Jobs during the iOS 5 keynote at WWDC this year, and will be partly responsible for powering iCloud. It was revealed earlier this year that Apple was purchasing land around the data center. Now we know why.

Permits issued by Catawba County show that the Cupertino, Calif., company has been approved to reshape the slope of some of the 171 acres of vacant land it owns on Startown Road, opposite the data center, in preparation of building a solar farm.

The solar farm will spread across 171 acres outside of the data center, which originally cost Apple $1 billion to build.

The plans are called “Project Dolphin Solar Farm A Expanded.” Project Dolphin was the code name given Apple’s plans to build a $1-billion data center in Maiden.

There are no specific details on who exactly will be building the solar farm. For Apple, and many other companies, it has become important to build data centers with clean energy. Google is one of the companies that does this very well, and it looks like Apple is headed that way too.

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