As Apple’s social record undergoes continued scrutiny the company just released its 2012 environmental report, which unveils plans to build America’s largest end user-owned onsite solar array at its massive data center in Maiden, North Carolina. The building itself is the world’s only LEED Platinum certified data center, and the 100-acre, 20-megawatt solar farm will supply 42 million kWh of clean, renewable energy annually.
Many people don’t realize it, but processing digital data requires a lot of energy, which is why Apple has committed to such a rigorous renewable program. In addition to the massive solar array, the company plans to build a fuel cell installation later this year. When complete, the 5 megawatt facility will be the largest non-utility fuel cell installation operating anywhere in the country. Located astride the white-roofed data center, it will be powered entirely by biogas and will provide more than 40 million kWh of 24×7 baseload renewable energy every year.
Apple insists that they are “committed to pursuing energy-efficient growth by increasing our renewable energy participation to match the growing needs of our data center—through our own projects as well as partnerships with utilities and renewable energy providers.”