Apple's North Carolina solar, fuel cell plants will be largest of their kind

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Comments

  • greenwiregreenwire Posts: 25member
    "And what if instead of grass you cover the roof with, say, a big algae pond? And then use the algae as either animal feed or as a biofuel?"





    I am a dreamer, too. However, installing any electronics under any water tank is asking for trouble. Possible freezing, cracking, leaking, short circuiting could be a disaster.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by greenwire View Post


    "And what if instead of grass you cover the roof with, say, a big algae pond? And then use the algae as either animal feed or as a biofuel?"





    I am a dreamer, too. However, installing any electronics under any water tank is asking for trouble. Possible freezing, cracking, leaking, short circuiting could be a disaster.



    Or AOL CDs. You can't more reflective than that for a free.
  • sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    God bless you, Steve. God bless you.
  • sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by greenwire View Post


    "And what if instead of grass you cover the roof with, say, a big algae pond? And then use the algae as either animal feed or as a biofuel?"



    I am a dreamer, too. However, installing any electronics under any water tank is asking for trouble. Possible freezing, cracking, leaking, short circuiting could be a disaster.



    There's actually been a lot of work on green roofs and green walls. I'm sure we're getting closer. But I think in terms of environmental priorities reducing carbon emissions, IMO, is the first hurdle to get over. Solar is really the simplest and most effective tool to just get people off the grid, get people off fossil fuels/ nuclear, and truly get people into the idea of clean, free, endless energy. That's the first step, and Apple is taking a decent big first step.



    Solar has been around for a while but the next 20 years will see some pretty good improvements. Imagine the sun on your face. Now imagine that powers everything in your life, with virtually no electricity bills ever. That's a dream that is very, very close.
  • sunilramansunilraman Posts: 8,133member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CityGuide View Post


    A few years ago I put solar panels on my own home as part of a larger renovation. I did my cost/payback plotting and all that shtuff. In the end I figured I would get the money I spent back in 9 years but I don't think that is common. In the end, you stand your best chance of breaking even by making changes in how you use the power in your home/facility, and how much of the power you can store, if that is possible. Building from the ground up is the best bet for maximizng your return. I also had the benefit of federal and local tax credits, plus a break on the cost because it was a group buy. Your mileage will definitely vary.



    What ~is~ interesting is that I'd wager much more people will break even within 10 years than one expects
  • chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,517member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post


    While I applaud their efforts, I don't understand why they decided to clear forested land for solar arrays



    Where did you read anything about clearing forested land?

    How much of that 100 acres is/was actual forest that had to be cleared?

    Quote:

    when they have a huge, largely empty roof on top of their data center. They could have put a significant portion of their solar cells on that roof.



    The building is not 100 acres....
  • chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,517member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    Seems to me that so long as Apple is earning 0.00% on their cash hoard.



    They are not earning 0% nor is it a "cash hoard".

    Cash on hand as reported by corporations is cash as well as short term (less than one year) investments such as:

    Money market funds

    Mutual funds

    U.S. Treasury securities

    U.S. agency securities

    Non-U.S. government securities

    Certificates of deposit and time deposits

    Commercial paper

    Corporate securities

    Municipal securities

    Asset-backed securities



    (from AAPL 10-Q) -> http://investor.apple.com/











    Subtotal
  • docno42docno42 Posts: 3,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


    Not that I know what I'm talking about, but it would seem that an airspace under the solar panels would take care of that heat-absorption problem, and lead to a roof even cooler than a white one.



    Airspace does not prevent heat transmission via radiation (i.e. infrared) Radiant gain is where the majority of heat gain in a roof comes from which is why I will be adding a radiant barrier (reflective foil) to my attic before this summer...
  • bigdaddypbigdaddyp Posts: 810member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post


    While I applaud their efforts, I don't understand why they decided to clear forested land for solar arrays when they have a huge, largely empty roof on top of their data center. They could have put a significant portion of their solar cells on that roof, cleared far less land, and made their building less of a heat radiator.





    That is a mission critical building and perhaps they did not want to risk the integrity of the roof with solar panels. Since that is a flat roof the panels would have to be mounted in frames and angled up towards the sun. In extreme weather with high winds large solar arrays mounted like that could act like a sail and cause huge stresses on the roof.
  • tipootipoo Posts: 577member
    For some context, they are consuming 493 million kWh a year. Not a bad first step, but a long way from 100% renewable. 25 percent of the Google's electricity came from renewable sources in 2010, so I think they're ahead, this is just a bigger single source.
  • baka-dubbsbaka-dubbs Posts: 82member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tipoo View Post


    For some context, they are consuming 493 million kWh a year. Not a bad first step, but a long way from 100% renewable. 25 percent of the Google's electricity came from renewable sources in 2010, so I think they're ahead, this is just a bigger single source.



    Its not a competition....



    I am happy to see both companies striving to reduce the energy costs of their server farms and sourcing more and more green energy. When you quote Google's numbers, some of that renewable is purchased from the utilities, not generated themselves. We don't know if Apple is purchasing energy from renewable utitilites, we just know they are building a large solar array which is really great to see.



    I think it is interesting to see how companies are dealing with the heat generated and energies costs of this large facilities. I know the big G is opening a lot of their new server farms in cold weather climates, and even using available resouces such as a lake/heat exchanger to reduce the cost and even turn some of the heat generated back into energy. Their are so many different strategies to be used and their is no one right answer, but we need companies like Apple and Google to be leaders in green energy.



    From a purely economic standpoint, it makes sense also. They are doing it on such a large scale they they it is going to cost a fraction of what it would cost me or you to put up solar panels, and they are locking in their energy costs for the next 25-30 years. And lets be honest, the cost of energy is going to do nothing but go up, so they will save more and more money as time goes on.
  • mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DESuserIGN View Post


    While I applaud their efforts, I don't understand why they decided to clear forested land for solar arrays when they have a huge, largely empty roof on top of their data center. They could have put a significant portion of their solar cells on that roof, cleared far less land, and made their building less of a heat radiator.



    From the photo I wonder if this was not a shot taken prior to completion of the facility. Usually with datacenter design the air conditioners go directly above the area to be cooled for maximum efficiency. Typically the entire roof would be covered with 1000s of tons of cooling equipment, fans electrical enclosures, walkways and the like. Unless Apple has somehow devised a way to remotely locate their cooling systems, this appears to be a photo dated prior to the installation of said equipment. Hence, there would be no room for roof mounted solar equipment in a normal installation.



    There does appear to be two towers in the background which could be cooling towers or diesel fuel for emergency generators. I still think that the ac units should be located on the roof which is not the case in this photo.



    EDIT: I have just searched on Google images and there are some newer photos showing the AC units on the roof.
  • hezetationhezetation Posts: 674member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post


    Or how many squirrels jumped to their deaths from those trees.



    Good riddance, I abhor the vile little beasts. Besides, they're overpopulating most areas anyway since they have so few natural predators anymore.
  • podlasekpodlasek Posts: 18member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post


    What ~is~ interesting is that I'd wager much more people will break even within 10 years than one expects



    Actually, there are very low energy costs in the Carolina's due to the 3 Nuclear Power Plants and many Hydroelectric Plants, running the numbers, I've never seen something less than 10 years payback even with tax incentives. The only way is to produce MUCH more than you consume, as the Power companies are Required to buy unused power.



    So for the naysayers talking about wasting money, this may be Apple's plan. Produce more than they use and get more revenue from additional power production.
  • repairzoomrepairzoom Posts: 72member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Napoleon_PhoneApart View Post


    And they still jumped?! They musta been nuts.



    Better put some nets up before you cut the trees down.
  • muncywebmuncyweb Posts: 156member
    Hey if we just all killed ourselves, the whole green movement would REALLY have something to celebrate. Course then they would be dead as well.
  • docno42docno42 Posts: 3,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MuncyWeb View Post


    Hey if we just all killed ourselves, the whole green movement would REALLY have something to celebrate. Course then they would be dead as well.



    But then would that be disrupting nature since we evolved too?



    I never did understand the whole "Man is changing nature for the worse" when we are part of nature!



    It's like Scotty in ST IV - "How do we know he didn't invent the bloody thing?"
  • docno42docno42 Posts: 3,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    Is it better to have the solar panels on the roof or not?



    Search for Brandon Smith's comment in the comments on the Wired story.



    Short version - it's not about the roof as much as whats under the roof.



    Quote:

    2. Is it better to replace trees with solar panels from a CO2 perspective?



    Those "trees" are basically weeds. Low value biogas and certainly not the old growth rainforst some are trying to paint it as



    Quote:

    In this case it's harder to infer the answer just by looking at Apple's actions



    No it isn't - their negligible. Will actually be a net-negative.



    Quote:

    Would be interesting to see some answers from someone who knows what they're talking about.



    Ah, but finding someone who really does know and isn't also pushing some sort of quasi-religous agenda is the real kicker, no?
  • docno42docno42 Posts: 3,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post


    From what I hear, from a purely economic perspective, photovoltaic cells do not pay for themselves.



    I guess if you are pretty frugal with power it would pay back allot more quickly.



    Even if I barely break even in the long run, the satisfaction of watching my meter run backward would be worth it...
  • docno42docno42 Posts: 3,147member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post


    That's a dream that is very, very close.



    The dream is close because... it's a dream.



    Practical reality? That's another thing entirely. Yes, there is an incredible amount of energy (nuclear energy, mind you) that is radiated to us from the sun, but by the time it hits the the ground it's pretty unconcentrated - and turning that diffuse energy into useful energy is non-trivial.



    Solindra didn't fail just because it was a political deal gone bad - renewable energy is hard. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.



    We are living on borrowed time with cheap fossil fuel energy - but getting off of it isn't going to be as simple as sprinkling a few wind and solar farms around and hoping for the best
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