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Apple Widens Its Solar Energy Footprint

Apple has made quite a green turnaround in the past couple of years.

After receiving a “D” on Greenpeace’s “How Green Is Your Cloud” report back in 2011, which ranks companies in four categories that consist of energy transparency, infrastructure siting, energy efficiency, and renewables and advocacy, Apple announced that it would power its company with 100 percent renewable energy.

Apple's 20-MW Maiden, N.C. solar farm. Credit: Apple

Since then, the tech company claims that it now completely powers all of its energy-sucking data centers and 94 percent of its entire corporate operations with renewables. According to Greenpeace’s latest report, Apple has made the most improvement in transparency, internal conservation efforts and the use and advocacy of renewable energy. 

“It’s not often that we get an opportunity to celebrate companies’ progress,” Gary Cook, the Greenpeace legislative director who authored the report told Bloomberg. “We’re not used to this, but there’s been a huge change in the past two years.”

Keeping up its green pace, Apple announced this week that it is building a third solar installation at its Maiden, N.C. data center that is expected to be completed by 2020. The 17.5-MW project is expected to cost $55 million and create at least 75 jobs in the area. Apple annexed 100 acres for the farm, but will give extra land back to the city to be used for public works projects.

The new solar farm will be located in nearby Claremont, N.C. and will join the ranks of two 20-MW farms built in 2012/2013, which use SunPower technology. It is yet unclear as to what technology will be used at the new project. Apple is also building an 18-to-20-MW CPV plant at its Reno, NV data plant, adding to its diverse energy portfolio. Apple now hopes to completely power its retail locations with renewables, half of which have already achieved the lofty goal.

According to its environmental website, Apple's green efforts now include:

  • All data centers are powered with 100 percent renewable energy and reaches 94 percent renewable energy usage across its corporate campuses and data centers.

  • Its new Cupertino, Calif. campus will "be a model of energy efficiency and green building design."

  • It launched the Clean Water Program pilot to increase water reuse and recycling at 13 water?intensive supplier sites.

  • It launched the Supplier Environment, Health, and Safety (EHS) Academy to expand the pool of qualified EHS managers in its supply chain.

Watch Apple’s recently released video campaign about its green initiatives, which showcases its multiple solar installations: 

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