Tech Now

Tech Now

Covering all the latest tech happenings from the Silicon Valley.

Exclusive: Inside Apple's Server Farm

A first look inside the "cleaner" facility

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Solar panels as far as the eye can see. Giant boxes to process biogas fuel cells. Welcome to the newest Apple facility. Scott Budman reports. (Published Monday, Apr 28, 2014)

    Solar panels as far as the eye can see.

    Giant boxes to process biogas fuel cells.

    Welcome to the newest Apple facility.

    Not a store with shiny devices, this is a data center in North Carolina that Apple gave us a chance to see. The company claims it will power the giant server farm with 100 percent renewable energy. That, given the huge energy demands of server centers these days, would be a feat.

    There are estimates that close to two percent of all of our country's energy is spent on such farms to power devices that allow us to send photos, snapchats, and texts on a whim. With more devices, not to mention cars, powered by energy these days, the demands on our power grid look to increase by the day.

    Apple says it can harness solar power, along with fuel cells from Silicon Valley's  Bloom Energy, to power its devices. Other companies, like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, use some solar power at their data centers. Apple wants to go 100% from renewable energy.

    Says Lisa Jackson, who used to head the EPA, and now runs Apple's environmental efforts, "on sunny days, we can generate enough power to handle all our needs, and put extra power back on the grid."

    It's an ambitious plan, that could eventually force other companies to follow suit. If that happens, all those powerful devices might sap a little less power from our grid.

    Scott is on Twitter: @scottbudman