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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2015
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.
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49

    Will this help get a 2014 Mac Mini out? If so, hurray. <img class=" src="http://forums-files.appleinsider.com/images/smilies//lol.gif" />

  • Reply 2 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.
  • Reply 3 of 49
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    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.)

  • Reply 4 of 49
    fred1fred1 Posts: 311member
    No new jobs? Someone has to make the robots!
  • Reply 5 of 49
    berndogberndog Posts: 82member
    Time to invest in robot making robots? Off the grid
  • Reply 6 of 49
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,630member
    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?

  • Reply 7 of 49
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    Will this help get a 2014 Mac Mini out? If so, hurray. :lol:

    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.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    "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.
  • Reply 9 of 49
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member

    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.

  • Reply 10 of 49
    ksecksec Posts: 1,551member

    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?

  • Reply 11 of 49
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,657member
    "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.
  • Reply 12 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.

  • Reply 13 of 49
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 2,991moderator
    wizard69 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 14 of 49
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,007member
    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.

  • Reply 15 of 49
    fred1fred1 Posts: 311member
    rob53 wrote: »
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    tleviertlevier Posts: 104member
    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.)

  • Reply 17 of 49
    tleviertlevier Posts: 104member
    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!

  • Reply 18 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.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    lorin schultzlorin schultz Posts: 2,630member
    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.

  • Reply 20 of 49
    mactacmactac Posts: 315member
    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.

Sign In or Register to comment.