Apple set to build solar panel farm for Reno data center

Solar farm

According to a new report, Apple is looking to team up with the Nevada utility company NV Energy to build a solar panel farm next to its Reno data center. The farm will span 137 acres and, like the company’s two North Carolina arrays, the Reno one is expected to provide somewhere between 18 and 20 megawatts of power…

GigaOM has the statement from Apple:

“All of Apple’s data centers use 100 percent renewable energy, and we are on track to meet that goal in our new Reno data center using the latest in high-efficiency concentrating solar panels. This project will not only supply renewable energy for our data center but also provide clean energy to the local power grid, through a first-of-its-kind partnership with NV Energy. When completed, the 137 acre solar array will generate approximately 43.5 million kilowatt hours of clean energy, equivalent to taking 6,400 passenger vehicles off the road per year.”

The site goes on to say that Apple’s solar farm plans were approved on June 12 by the Nevada state utility commission. The terms include the option to expand the farm in the future, if need be, and Apple says that because the project may take a while, it will use geothermal power in the meantime to ensure 100% clean energy.

Apple was, for a long time, criticized by Greenpeace and other environmental organizations for not doing enough to reduce its carbon footprint. But the company has come a long way since then, announcing earlier this year that its data centers run on 100% renewable energy, and its corporate buildings run on about 75%.

In May, Tim Cook confirmed that Apple had recently hired Lisa P. Jackson, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, to oversee its various green initiatives.