The North Carolina Utilities Commission approved (PDF) Apple’s proposal to build a 20-megawatt solar farm today. Early filings suggested Apple aimed to position the farm by Nov. 1 across the street from its Maiden, N.C., date center, with operations starting Dec. 21. According to MacRumors, the official proposal filed on Feb. 15, and then it underwent to staff review, a public notice/comment session, and feedback from the State Clearinghouse. The NCUC officially approved the proposal on Monday and completed the certificate issuance Thursday:

The Public Staff presented this matter to the Commission at its Regular Staff Conference on May 14, 2012. The Public Staff recommended that the Commission approve the application and issue a certificate of public convenience and necessity for construction of a 20 MW solar photovoltaic electric generating facility to be located at 6028 Startown Road, Maiden, North Carolina.

After careful consideration, the Commission finds good cause to approve the application and issue the attached certificate of public convenience and necessity for the proposed 20 MW solar photovoltaic electric generating facility.

According to Reuters, Apple confirmed today that it is constructing two solar array installations in Maiden, with the potential to annually supply 84 million kWh of energy through streamlined solar cells and a state-of-the-art solar tracking system. A 5-megawatt fuel cell installation will support the solar farms, which will open later this year, powered-by 100 percent biogas. Apple also confirmed plans to construct a third biogas fuel-cell plant in 2012.

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