GigaOm’s Katie Fehrenbacher has a post on her 2nd trip to Maiden, NC to see Apple’s data center. If you repeat a task you get better with experience and familiarity. Katie took a trip to NC in July 2012 and wrote a series of posts on her visit including visiting Apple’s data center.
Nov 2013, Katie returned to Maiden, NC and writes a well researched post on Apple’s renewable energy installation of 50MW. Read Katie’s post to get the full report. I’ll highlight a few points that shows how well Katie researched the post.
Katie gives background on her method
Katie points out that it is not possible for Apple to directly use the power from the its renewable energy sources.
Apple’s second 20 MW solar panel farm, which is about 15 miles away from the data center near the town of Conover, North Carolina, is also up and running. All told, the three facilities are creating 50 MW of power, which is about 10 MW more than what Apple’s data center uses. Because of state laws, the energy is being pumped into the power grid, and Apple then uses the energy it needs from the grid. But this setup also means Apple doesn’t need large batteries, or other forms of energy storage, to keep the power going when the sun goes down and its solar panels stop producing electricity.
Here is a nice picture Katie took. One of the comments made said Katie should have used Panorama mode to get a wider view.
One of the funnier comments I read was a person saying the use of sheep is “iSheep" to clear the grass growing around the solar panels
Apple’s 2nd solar array is 15 miles from the data center and putting the power on the grind makes much more sense than trying to bring the power back to the data center.
And Katie closes identifying Apple’s leadership.
Change often times happens incrementally. From the outside that happened with clean power and Internet companies in North Carolina. But sometimes crucial change happens with a single brush stroke or a single outlier decision. That’s how I see Apple’s clean power facilities in North Carolina — right now, they stand alone.
Disclosure: Katie is a good friend and I work freelance for GigaOm Research. And after a post like this, it reminds me part of what I enjoy discussing is who is doing some of the coolest stuff in environmental efforts.
Seems kind of obvious that within the next year or two Katie will return to Maiden, and who knows what she’ll be able to write about then.
Katie’s post got picked up by others.