Apple is planning to construct a large-scale solar panel farm to power its data center in the city of Reno, Nevada, United States. Surplus power from the solar farm will eventually be used to meet the energy requirements of the surrounding community.
The upcoming solar panel farm is named "Ft. Churchill Solar Array" and according to GigaOm, the facility is able to produce between 18- to 20 megawatts (MW) worth of power. Its power output is considered high, considering its primary function is to power Apple's nearby data center. GigaOm also reported Apple's plan to use a new technology for its solar panel system, "...which includes both solar panels and also mirrors that concentrate the sun’s rays up to seven times onto the panels." In the future, excess energy from the facility will be channeled to the local power grid of the nearby community.
The usage of solar energy to power data centers isn't a new initiative by Apple. It has been an ongoing effort by the company to rely on more environmentally-friendly sources of power. This can be seen in two of its earlier solar plants in the state of North Carolina. Apple may have incurred the displeasure of green environmentalist when it announced in July 2012 that it had abandoned EPEAT, the green manufacturing standard, for its notebooks and desktops. Eventually, the company had to reverse its decisions or risk angering many of its customers, both corporate and end-users.