or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple buys 100 acres of land for third North Carolina solar farm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple buys 100 acres of land for third North Carolina solar farm

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Apple on Monday reached a deal with the city council of Claremont, N.C. to annex 100 acres of land for a new 17.5 megawatt solar farm, the construction of which is expected to cost some $55 million.


Apple's Maiden, N.C. solar farm. | Source: Apple


As approved by the Claremont City Council, Apple's latest solar farm project will bring 100 acres of land into the city's corporate limits and should generate about 75 jobs, which the company agreed to source locally, reports the Hickory Daily Record.

As it stands, the land is currently valued at $1.4 million, but Apple will be giving two parcels back to the city for use as greenways, recreation space and other public works projects. According to the publication, the tracts are worth a combined $96,000.

After Apple draws the requisite permits, takes control of the land and fulfills other development related minutiae, construction of the farm is expected to be completed in five years.

The Claremont solar farm will be Apple's third such facility in the area surrounding its Maiden, N.C. iCloud data center, which itself boasts a 100-acre solar installation putting out 20 megawatts of power. In September of 2012, the company purchased another 200 acres of land a few miles away in Conover, to be used for a second 20-megawatt farm.

As noted by Apple VP of Environmental Initiatives Lisa Jackson, the company's data centers are run off 100 percent renewable sources like solar and biogas, as are 94 percent of its corporate structures. The next step, according to Jackson, is to take brick-and-mortar Apple Stores completely off the grid.
post #2 of 49

Will this help get a 2014 Mac Mini out? If so, hurray. :lol:

post #3 of 49
I like that the data centers, which store things like iCloud and iTunes Store content, as well as processing millions of iMessages and iOS push notifications each day are becoming less dependent on the grid. These data services can only grow in capacity, with no conceivable end in sight.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #4 of 49
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post
The next step, according to Jackson, is to take brick-and-mortar Apple Stores completely off the grid.

 

And after that, Apple might be able to bring manufacturing back to the US.

Then take that off the grid too.

(But sorry, no new jobs.  All robots from now on.)

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

Reply

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

Reply
post #5 of 49
No new jobs? Someone has to make the robots!
post #6 of 49
Time to invest in robot making robots? Off the grid
post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple on Monday reached a deal with the city council of Claremont, N.C. to annex 100 acres of land

 

"Annex" is one of those words that can mean something innocuous or nasty depending on the situation. Who does the land belong to now? This isn't going to result in some little old lady being forced off the family homestead, is it?

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

Reply

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

Reply
post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheWhiteFalcon View Post

Will this help get a 2014 Mac Mini out? If so, hurray. lol.gif

By the time that comes out it will be a 2015 model!

Seriously though wind energy is a much better use for all of that land. What Apple is doing here is very wasteful of a very limited resource.
post #9 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post

"Annex" is one of those words that can mean something innocuous or nasty depending on the situation. Who does the land belong to now? This isn't going to result in some little old lady being forced off the family homestead, is it?

Possibly! That wording could as you point out be indicative of something sleazy going on - lets hope not. I do find it strange that the town had to extend its limits to cover this area. I just don't know why Apple would want to have another governmental entity to deal with. Maybe somebody local to the area can chime in.
post #10 of 49

Did everyone see that Germany is producing (at peak) over half of its power by solar? Incredible to think how far this technology has come.

post #11 of 49

How do they get the Apple Store off the Grid? Do they even have a choice in the city centre location?

 

Or do they plan to generate the total Apple Retail electricity usage with solar panel and send them back to the grid?

post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post

"Annex" is one of those words that can mean something innocuous or nasty depending on the situation. Who does the land belong to now? This isn't going to result in some little old lady being forced off the family homestead, is it?

You can't force someone out for private development use.
post #13 of 49
Quote:
"17.5 megawatt solar farm, the construction of which is expected to cost some $55 million."

 

That sounds fishy. Right now industrial-scale solar farms are going in for about $1.80 a watt, all-in. 17.5 x 1.80 = $31.5. Even with the trackers they like to use, this still sounds like its more than it should be.

post #14 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Possibly! That wording could as you point out be indicative of something sleazy going on - lets hope not. I do find it strange that the town had to extend its limits to cover this area. I just don't know why Apple would want to have another governmental entity to deal with. Maybe somebody local to the area can chime in.

Could be it was just unincorporated land adjacent to the town. No need to think the worst without evidence.
I have enough money to last the rest of my life. Unless I buy something. - Jackie Mason
Reply
I have enough money to last the rest of my life. Unless I buy something. - Jackie Mason
Reply
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
Seriously though wind energy is a much better use for all of that land. What Apple is doing here is very wasteful of a very limited resource.

Wind energy has several problems. It's mechanical so there are breakdowns and constant maintenance that can only be performed by people 100-ft off the ground. The propellers are also a danger to birds and low flying airplanes while solar panels don't hurt anyone. Contrary to what many people think, the vast majority of land in the US is vacant so covering it with solar farms doesn't take away inhabitable or farmable land. Once Apple tries to provide solar or biogas power to Apple stores, we'll see how well they can integrate these power sources into the buildings and populated communities.

post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

Wind energy has several problems. It's mechanical so there are breakdowns and constant maintenance that can only be performed by people 100-ft off the ground. The propellers are also a danger to birds and low flying airplanes while solar panels don't hurt anyone. Contrary to what many people think, the vast majority of land in the US is vacant so covering it with solar farms doesn't take away inhabitable or farmable land. Once Apple tries to provide solar or biogas power to Apple stores, we'll see how well they can integrate these power sources into the buildings and populated communities.

True. I'm a big proponent of all forms of energy production other than coal, gas, and nuke, but wind energy has big issues, including the cost of the units, the noise they produce, and the problem of installation - the very wind they need to be effective creates huge problems during installation.
post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Possibly! That wording could as you point out be indicative of something sleazy going on - lets hope not. I do find it strange that the town had to extend its limits to cover this area. I just don't know why Apple would want to have another governmental entity to deal with. Maybe somebody local to the area can chime in.

I'm not local, as I live in Colorado, but in our more "rural" areas, where you do have towns and cities....

basically, all land in a state is a part of a county and counties have borders with each other, however, not all land is in a city.  Those areas would be referred to as "unincorporated" parts of the county.  The city annexes land into their charter to expand their borders, whether it was unincorporated previously, or a part of another neighboring city.  I think each state has different rules about how an annexation can be done, but when the owner of the land asks to join the city, the city will decide whether or not to allow that landowner to join.  Bigger isn't always better for a city because they have to use their city funds to upkeep roads, electrical, sewer, etc.  Commercial adds to a tax base while Residential costs a city more money than property tax generates (in general).  

So, in summary, Apple has bought the land and the City has agreed to allow the new land to be within the borders of the city. (..town, whatever.)

post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post
 

Did everyone see that Germany is producing (at peak) over half of its power by solar? Incredible to think how far this technology has come.

Yes, the tech has come quite a long ways, but I've seen things (that I wish I could source here so we could talk specifics) that suggests solar panels are only 18-25% efficient... if not lower.  Can you imagine if they could get those numbers into the 30s or 50s?  Continue the march of the research and development!

post #19 of 49
A natural gas facility that generates 20 MW of power can be built for about $20 million, or about 1/3 of the cost of solar. That gas could be derived locally from underlying Marcellus Shale deposits. The footprint would be far smaller than 100 acres.

This is being done elsewhere in Virginia, Pennsylvania, etc.

Solar sounds nice but it's simply not cost-competitive with NG.
post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevewhitemd View Post

A natural gas facility that generates 20 MW of power can be built for about $20 million, or about 1/3 of the cost of solar. That gas could be derived locally from underlying Marcellus Shale deposits. The footprint would be far smaller than 100 acres.

This is being done elsewhere in Virginia, Pennsylvania, etc.

Solar sounds nice but it's simply not cost-competitive with NG.

 

There are other trade-offs besides cost, though. Burning all that NG dumps megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is bad for the continued existence of humans and other, similar, life forms.

 

Some things matter more than money.

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

Reply

Lorin Schultz (formerly V5V)

Audio Engineer

V5V Digital Media, Vancouver, BC Canada

Reply
post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post
 

 

There are other trade-offs besides cost, though. Burning all that NG dumps megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is bad for the continued existence of humans and other, similar, life forms.

 

Some things matter more than money.


Might want to read up on the Carboniferous Period. The time when the Earth was the greenest and lushest it has ever been. CO2 levels were several times higher than it is now. Plants flourished. Able to benefit from all the CO2. Plants grow faster and stronger with more CO2. They are also more water efficient and more drought tolerant with more CO2.  Abundant plant life lead to abundant animal life. In fact it is likely that the increase in oxygen levels from all those plants is what enabled mammals to increase in numbers.

Corals first formed in the oceans back when CO2 levels were much higher than today too.

We wouldn't have the cheap, abundant and reliable energy sources we have today if not for all that CO2. You can think of coal as stored solar energy.

We are able to scrub the real pollutants out when we use coal. CO2 isn't pollution. Nothing could survive on earth without it.

post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

...becoming less dependent on the grid.
The grid has two parts-- generation and distribution. Unless Apple has a bunch of Sodium-Sulphur batteries with MWh capacities then they are likely more dependent on the distribution portion of the grid, even if they offset a good portion of the generation end during the day.

I don't mean it to belittle Apple's effort, but it is the interconnection that makes solar and wind viable; trying to do energy storage to be truly independent of the grid adds huge costs.
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlevier View Post
 

I'm not local, as I live in Colorado, but in our more "rural" areas, where you do have towns and cities....

basically, all land in a state is a part of a county and counties have borders with each other, however, not all land is in a city.  Those areas would be referred to as "unincorporated" parts of the county.  The city annexes land into their charter to expand their borders, whether it was unincorporated previously, or a part of another neighboring city.  I think each state has different rules about how an annexation can be done, but when the owner of the land asks to join the city, the city will decide whether or not to allow that landowner to join.  Bigger isn't always better for a city because they have to use their city funds to upkeep roads, electrical, sewer, etc.  Commercial adds to a tax base while Residential costs a city more money than property tax generates (in general).  

So, in summary, Apple has bought the land and the City has agreed to allow the new land to be within the borders of the city. (..town, whatever.)

 

You are pretty much dead-on.

 

Since Apple has apparently not closed on the property, the sale probably has a contingency for approval of annexation from the city, which would allow Apple to access city sewer, water, electricity, police protection and any other public services the municipality might offer.

In return, Apple would be paying not only for those services thru billing but also by additional municipal tax.

 

Annexation in North Carolina comes only (for the most part) by a request from property owners who desire it.  Not little 'ol ladies getting screwed.  So, if Apple did it right, they would have had the current property owner approach the municipality with a request for annexation, and probably zoning, which would have triggered public hearings prior to a decision from the town.  

 

JM2C from a NC resident, Real Estate Broker & elected official - not that any of those are worth spit...

OMG here we go again...
Reply
OMG here we go again...
Reply
post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by jungmark View Post

You can't force someone out for private development use.

Actually you can, many states are very liberal in this regards and in one case residence went all the way to the Supreme Court and lost. You really need to check up on your state laws as it is very different from one to another. In the end all the developer has to do is convince the local authority that it is a good thing. That can mean suggesting of increased tax revenue but the wiser person in me suspects that payoffs are a big part of these land grabs.
post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post

That sounds fishy. Right now industrial-scale solar farms are going in for about $1.80 a watt, all-in. 17.5 x 1.80 = $31.5. Even with the trackers they like to use, this still sounds like its more than it should be.

Nope. The cost of the panel's is only part of the problem, you need to buy the land and develop it. Development can be very expensive as you need to strip the land of vegetation and rework it so that the installations are fairly even and dont obstruct each other. In other words you need to remove hills and valleys or other wise create structures so that your panels are presented to the sun in a clear and regular manner. It would be a huge waste of money to allow the lay of the land to obstruct or shadow some of your panels.
post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadarTheKat View Post

Could be it was just unincorporated land adjacent to the town. No need to think the worst without evidence.

Maybe but why incorporate it into the town?
post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

Wind energy has several problems. It's mechanical so there are breakdowns and constant maintenance that can only be performed by people 100-ft off the ground.
Everything requires maintenance and frankly wind turbines are amazingly low impact in this regards. Ground level solar electric systems are not by any means maintenance free.
Quote:
The propellers are also a danger to birds and low flying airplanes while solar panels don't hurt anyone.
They aren't any more of a danger than any other human built structure.
Quote:
Contrary to what many people think, the vast majority of land in the US is vacant so covering it with solar farms doesn't take away inhabitable or farmable land.
This is the statement i most have problems with. First off land only covers 30% of the earth! Second; these solar farms are most often sited on land that would be ideal for farming or residential use. Third; population growth impacts land use and as such you have to consider a future with a much higher number of humans on the planet. Fourth; the usual installations of these solar farms displace natural vegetation and replace it with heat generation system that most likely doesn't offset the damage done by the lost of that vegetation.

In the end I still see it as wasteful land use that provides no real pay back.
Quote:
Once Apple tries to provide solar or biogas power to Apple stores, we'll see how well they can integrate these power sources into the buildings and populated communities.

Considering that they are tenants in malls I'm not sure what they have in mind. But here again is the issue, if they want to offset that power usage most likely they will buy a bunch of land and set up a solar farm. So we have a bunch of land effectively being wasted again. In some locations that would mean the use of prime real estate as finding 100 acres of sub prime usable for such an installation would be very difficult.

When it comes right down to it I think people need to wake up and grasp just how stupid these solar farms are from an environmental point of view.
post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred1 View Post

True. I'm a big proponent of all forms of energy production other than coal, gas, and nuke, but wind energy has big issues, including the cost of the units, the noise they produce, and the problem of installation - the very wind they need to be effective creates huge problems during installation.

What is wrong with gas or nuke?

Gas is one of those resources that you either use or it gets wasted. Where I grew up if you drilled a well for a house you often ended up with natural gas in the water, it literally seaps out of the ground all on its own. I remember as a kid the well being drilled, it wasn't that deep and you could actually hear the gas bubbling up. Eventually my father capped the well and hooked it up to a grill. The gas didn't go away so eventually it was plumbed into a water heater for the house. Effectively that house has free hot water since I was about 4 years old. Some of the stupidity with respect to natural gas is beyond me as it is extremely plentiful in some areas and ends up in the atmosphere anyways.

As for nukes I've yet to see a rational argument for not expanding current production and more importantly researching more advanced techniques.
post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by stevewhitemd View Post

A natural gas facility that generates 20 MW of power can be built for about $20 million, or about 1/3 of the cost of solar. That gas could be derived locally from underlying Marcellus Shale deposits. The footprint would be far smaller than 100 acres.
More importantly that plant would generate continously compared to a solar plant that goes dark 50% of the time and is only generating optimally part of the day. ID even go so far as to say that maintenance would be cheaper in the long run.
Quote:
This is being done elsewhere in Virginia, Pennsylvania, etc.

Solar sounds nice but it's simply not cost-competitive with NG.

I don't have a problem with Apple wasting its money, after all they earned it. What I have a problem with is the massive waste of land for a low impact and inefficient energy production system. We are already talking about at least 400 acres here and much more to come if Apple follows through.

As for natural gas I don't think people realize just how plentiful it is in some locations. If you are in a rural area with well water there is a good chance you have gas in that water right now. We aren't talking deep wells either.
post #30 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post

There are other trade-offs besides cost, though. Burning all that NG dumps megatons of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is bad for the continued existence of humans and other, similar, life forms.
Dont be so damn gullible here, CO2 has not been proven to be an issue in the quantities being produced. In fact the latest research from NASA shows no increase in global temperatures for a decade. The so called link between CO2 and the supposed temeorature increases is the result of a computer model that has failed repeatedly to produce results reflecting reality.

As for life CO2 is required by all plant life on the planet! This is basic science. So ask yourself this, if Apple strips the planet of 500 acres of natural vegitation how does that impact CO2 levels.
Quote:
Some things matter more than money.

Most certainly but not bad science. You really need to research the so called issues related to CO2 and what is actually happening to the planet. The conflicting stuff offered up as proof of man made global warming should at the very least cause you to say hey! For example polar region ice caps and other store house of water are increasing in size of late, in some cases significantly.

To put it simply the more you look into the science, especially the research that conflicts with the fear mongering groups the more you will realize that there is much uncertainty in what is being offered up as proven science. That doesn't mean we should ignore the environment by the way, it just means that mistakes are made often in the world of science and you need to be careful about how much weight you place on anyone piece of evidence.
post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post
Nope. The cost of the panel's is only part of the problem, you need to buy the land and develop it. Development can be very expensive as you need to strip the land of vegetation and rework it so that the installations are fairly even and dont obstruct each other. In other words you need to remove hills and valleys or other wise create structures so that your panels are presented to the sun in a clear and regular manner. It would be a huge waste of money to allow the lay of the land to obstruct or shadow some of your panels.

Maybe you should google me up.

 

Land reshaping typically costs maybe $0.10 per Watt on large installs. The big on in Sarnia was less than that. You'll spend more on wire.

post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


By the time that comes out it will be a 2015 model!

Seriously though wind energy is a much better use for all of that land. 

Assuming there is enough wind on that land...

post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

As for life CO2 is required by all plant life on the planet!

So that means we can keep producing it without incident? 1hmm.gif

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacTac View Post


Might want to read up on the Carboniferous Period. The time when the Earth was the greenest and lushest it has ever been. CO2 levels were several times higher than it is now. Plants flourished. Able to benefit from all the CO2. Plants grow faster and stronger with more CO2. They are also more water efficient and more drought tolerant with more CO2.  Abundant plant life lead to abundant animal life. In fact it is likely that the increase in oxygen levels from all those plants is what enabled mammals to increase in numbers.

It is important to note that though CO2 levels were 5-10x higher, global temperatures were THE SAME AS TODAY.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by berndog View Post

Time to invest in robot making robots? Off the grid

 

And who makes the robot-making robots?

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
Reply
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
Reply
post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lorin Schultz View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple on Monday reached a deal with the city council of Claremont, N.C. to annex 100 acres of land

 

"Annex" is one of those words that can mean something innocuous or nasty depending on the situation. Who does the land belong to now? This isn't going to result in some little old lady being forced off the family homestead, is it?

 

No; a little, old man. He will escape to South America with the help of some balloons and ingenuity.

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
Reply
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
Reply
post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichL View Post
 

Did everyone see that Germany is producing (at peak) over half of its power by solar? Incredible to think how far this technology has come.

 

So that's how they beat Brazil; over half the team were solar-powered!

“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
Reply
“I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.”
Reply
post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Actually you can, many states are very liberal in this regards and in one case residence went all the way to the Supreme Court and lost. You really need to check up on your state laws as it is very different from one to another. In the end all the developer has to do is convince the local authority that it is a good thing. That can mean suggesting of increased tax revenue but the wiser person in me suspects that payoffs are a big part of these land grabs.

The land has to be deemed abandoned or blight before the govt can eminent domain the sucker for private developers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

Maybe but why incorporate it into the town?

Taxes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjamin Frost View Post

And who makes the robot-making robots?

Robots or aliens.
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post


Seriously though wind energy is a much better use for all of that land. What Apple is doing here is very wasteful of a very limited resource.

 

Do you really think that Apple hasn't investigated the options?   Don't you think that if a wind farm could be built less expensively and was as or more efficient in terms of generating electricity that Apple would have pursued that course?

 

There also tends to be more public opposition to wind farms as people don't like the way they look, there are complaints about the noise and some bird lovers claim they kill too many birds.     Even the Kennedy family selfishly opposed a wind farm in the Atlantic because they'd be able to see it from their Hyannis compound.    I've done a lot of traveling in Europe and personally, I think the wind farms you see there look just fine.   Better a wind farm than another nuclear power plant or fracking facility, which are apparently causing more earthquakes in Oklahoma.  

post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

As for nukes I've yet to see a rational argument for not expanding current production and more importantly researching more advanced techniques.

 

Rational arguments:

1.  Three-mile Island

2.  Chernobyl

3.  Fukushima Daiichi

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple buys 100 acres of land for third North Carolina solar farm