Apple plans 137-acre, 20 Megawatt solar array adjacent to its new Reno data center in partnership with NV Energy

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According to a new report from GigaOM, Apple is planning to build a new solar panel farm in Reno, Nevada in conjunction with NV Energy. Reno is also where Apple’s latest data center is located. The company already has two similar-sized solar farms in North Carolina to power its data center there, but this is the company’s first in Nevada.

The solar farm, dubbed  “Ft. Churchill Solar Array,” will be able to proved between 18 to 20 MW in power, which is about the same as its plants in North Carolina, which both put out 20 MW in size. With this solar farm, however, Apple will be utilizing a new technology that includes both solar panels and mirrors that focus the sun’s rays up to seven times onto the panels.  Read more

Construction begins on Apple’s Maiden, North Carolina data center expansion

When Apple published its 2012 Facilities Report and Environmental Update, we got some new details on its plans for the now-under construction Maiden, N.C.-based iCloud data center. We reported that Apple planned to build the largest end user–owned onsite solar array in the United States across the road from the data center, as well as the largest non-utility fuel cell in the country at 5-megawatts. Today, Hickory Daily Record confirmed construction has officially begun.

…this week, work has started on the main campus of the data center. Driving by the campus, you can actually see the structure from the road. That’s because part of the berm — an earthen wall — has been demolished as part of some type of construction… What type of construction taking place on the main campus is not clear. No one is talking, or seems to know.

While it is unclear exactly what the new structure on the main campus will be, there are a few options swirling around. We know the 5-megawatt fuel cell will be next to the main data center, and the new building could house that installation. However, as HickoryDailyRecord pointed out, Maiden Town Manager Todd Herms said Apple originally planned to build two identical structures when it began construction of its Maiden data center. Apple only built one, so the new building could be the second building of the main data center.

The report noted Apple’s main contractor for data centers in area, Holder Construction, pulled zoning permits last week for a “tactical data center.” Another permit issued on Wednesday named 34 acres of the main data center campus. The current 500,000-square-foot building only occupies about 11.5 acres, so its possible the new building will be larger than the current data center. As we pointed out in our overhead shot of the data center pictured right (Thanks PilotJohn), the report also confirmed land is being cleared for the solar farm’s construction across the road.
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