Apple has announced that its newest—and largest—data center is powered entirely by renewable energy. Solar panels and fuel cells incorporated within the Maiden, North Carolina facility generate enough on–site energy to power up to 17,600 homes for an entire year. The project is part a larger push by Apple to switch to renewable energy sources, an effort which has resulted in 75% of Apple’s offices worldwide being powered by clean energy.

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Like other technology companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, Apple has large data centers—Internet storage facilities—which consume vast amounts of energy. Its newest data center located in Maiden, North Carolina, is the largest of its kind to be powered completely through renewable energy generation.

A large solar array surrounds the data center and has an annual production capacity of 42 million kWh of low-carbon renewable energy, enough to power 17,600 homes for one year. A second 20 MW solar array in currently being built in the vicinity of the existing one and is planned to enter operation in 2013. The Maiden data center has already earned the LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, thus joining many other of Apple’s facilities that use renewable energy sources.

Via Reuters