Apple building the nation’s largest end user owned solar energy farm

Last Fall, word got out that Apple was planning to build a solar energy farm to power its newly-built data center in North Carolina. The facility, which hosts a bulk of Apple’s iCloud service, went live during the Summer of last year.

We knew the solar energy farm was going to be massive, but we had no idea how big. Today, in a company-wide environmental footprint report, Apple announced that the array is going to be one of the largest in the nation…

CNET reports:

“Apple’s massive North Carolina data center will be powered by the nation’s largest end-user-owned solar array, the company revealed today in a report on its environmental footprint. The facility, which is being constructed in Maiden, N.C., has been awarded LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council, the company said in its report.

“We know of not other data center of comparable size that has achieved this level of LEED certification,” the company said in its report. “Our goal is to run the Maiden facility with high percentage renewable energy mix.”

After years of taking criticism, Apple has recently started making a serious effort to decrease the size of its carbon footprint. The company now has plants in Texas, California, and Ireland that run completely on renewable energy — a sizable feat.

But the iPhone-maker still admits it has tons of work ahead of it. In its footprint report, Apple estimated that it was responsible for 23 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2011.