Apple announced plans to build a solar farm with Nevada utility NV Energy Inc to power to its new data center in Reno, in a big push towards its goal of running facilities entirely off of renewable energy. The installation will have an 18 to 20 MW capacity, Cnet reports.
The new solar farm will provide power to Sierra Pacific Power Company’s electric grid, which serves Apple’s data center. When completed, the farm will generate about 43.5 million kWh of clean energy a year, Apple said in a statement, according to Reuters.
This will be the third solar farm to support Apple’s operations. The tech major ‘s largest data center in the US, in Maiden, N.C., has a 100-acre, 20 MW solar farm with an annual production capacity of 42 million kWh, and 10 MW of fuel cells that produce over 83 million kWh a year. Once it completes a second 20 MW solar project on nearby land, Apple says it will be produce 167 million kWh a year at the Maiden center.
In March, Apple announced that its data centers run on 100 percent renewable energy, as do its facilities in Austin, Texas; Cork, Ireland; Munich, Germany and its Infinite Loop campus in Cupertino, Calif., according to its environmental progress report.
Aside from solar, the company also taps wind energy for its facilities. At the beginning of this year Apple said it plans to develop a wind turbine that generates electricity from stored wind energy, according to AppleInsider.
Technology companies like Apple, Amazon and Microsoft that develop and operate computer server farms have been criticized for using too much energy. Their consumption has increased in response to a rise in internet traffic, along with mobile device use and corporate hosting services, Reuters says.