Apple planning solar farm opposite NC data center

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  • Reply 41 of 62
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    The real problem with solar (and other power) is that we waste too much of it. What we're doing is like walking into a grocery store and paying for $100 worth of groceries and throwing $20 worth of the groceries in the trash can as you leave the store.



    Makes total sense. The problem is that most people don't care about saving anything. The $100 in groceries you mention is all soda pop and potato chips and they feed it to their kids while they watch TV for 6 hours a day. Then they get their big fat asses into their giant SUV and drive to MacDonald's for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can't really expect these people to conserve electricity. The logical people are already driving hybrids, biking to work, eating less, walking more and conserving energy.



    I like solar power even though the panels are kind of ugly, but for me the break even would be probably 50 years since I use so little electricity at home. My house is so well insulated that last year I did not turn on the heat or air conditioner more than 1-2 days and then only for an hour or two. I cook and heat water with natural gas and my bill is less than $15 a month. I spend about as much on broadband Internet as I do on all my other utilities combined.



    It is good to see Apple doing something about their energy consumption. I don't think you can put the panels on the roof of the data center though because it is full of air conditioners which you need access to for regular maintenance and they also need a lot of air space around them.
  • Reply 42 of 62
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    There IS a free lunch - but not enough people are using it. Our business involves retrofitting buildings for energy conservation. Our average customer saves about 20% of its energy usage and the cost is relatively low (1-3 year payback). There's nothing but upside to that.



    You retrofit them for free? That's very nice of you but it doesn't sound like much of a business model.
  • Reply 43 of 62
    xsuxsu Posts: 401member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTac View Post


    So burning coal for electricity is bad but burning vegetation to clear land for solar panels is good. Somewhere in Al Gore's world this makes sense.



    Because the amount of carbon contained in the vegetation burned is equivalent to a few days worth of coal burned to supply the electricity that this solar plant will supply. If you bothered to take off your tainted glass to let your brain work properly, you would see this very clearly.
  • Reply 44 of 62
    xsuxsu Posts: 401member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mytdave View Post


    Energy reductions of 20% (theoretical?) would be great, and there's nothing wrong with that, but there's still no free lunch. You can't eliminate all energy consumption, and it has to be generated somehow, somewhere, and therefore you have pollution in one form or another.



    Energy saving of 20% means that's 20% of pollution related to use of energy that would not otherwise be generated. So I don't understand this mindset that since it doesn't eliminate all of the problems, it must not be a good solution.
  • Reply 45 of 62
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Shock Me View Post


    You retrofit them for free? That's very nice of you but it doesn't sound like much of a business model.



    Who said that? In fact, if you had even the tiniest understanding of how business works, you would have understood that the fact that I mentioned a 1-3 year payback means that the user has to pay for the equipment installed.



    Of course, we could lease it to them and their monthly payment would always be less than the amount they save on energy, but I don't usually recommend that. It's generally not as good a deal as them buying the equipment outright - unless they have absolutely no cash to invest.
  • Reply 46 of 62
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    It is good to see Apple doing something about their energy consumption. I don't think you can put the panels on the roof of the data center though because it is full of air conditioners which you need access to for regular maintenance and they also need a lot of air space around them.



    Depends. The A/C could be mounted on the ground. Furthermore, Apple should really be looking at geothermal HVAC. A good geothermal system will reduce energy consumption by around 75% or more. It's more expensive than conventional equipment, but not as expensive as solar electric.
  • Reply 47 of 62
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xsu View Post


    Energy saving of 20% means that's 20% of pollution related to use of energy that would not otherwise be generated. So I don't understand this mindset that since it doesn't eliminate all of the problems, it must not be a good solution.



    It's actually more than 20% - because when energy usage is cut, it is the least efficient plants which are operated less. The nuclear facilities tend to run continuously and they are not generating CO2. So a 20% reduction in energy usage probably amounts to a 25% reduction in pollution.



    On top of that is the effect on imports. Since we're importing about 1/2 of our energy, a 20% reduction in energy usage means a 40% reduction in imports (if we keep domestic production constant). That's a 40% improvement in the energy portion of our balance of payments and a substantial reduction in the amount of our money that's available to unstable countries to fund terrorism.
  • Reply 48 of 62
    x38x38 Posts: 95member
    So will iCloud still work when it's cloudy?
  • Reply 49 of 62
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Depends. The A/C could be mounted on the ground.



    Nope that is not the way it is done. I have also seen photos of the inside of Apple data center as well as the latest Microsoft and Google data centers. They all share the same AC configuration. The AC is directly above the area that it cools. One of the industry's top data center designers is a close friend.
  • Reply 50 of 62
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Nope that is not the way it is done. I have also seen photos of the inside of Apple data center as well as the latest Microsoft and Google data centers. They all share the same AC configuration. The AC is directly above the area that it cools. One of the industry's top data center designers is a close friend.



    I didn't say it WAS done that way, I said it COULD BE done that way. There would be some minor efficiency loss to putting the units on the ground, but it isn't impossible (lots if buildings do it that way).



    Clearly, Apple has a reason for putting them on the roof. I don't have any idea what it is, so I can't say if they made the right decision or not. I'm simply saying that it's POSSIBLE to put them on the ground.
  • Reply 51 of 62
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,492member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post


    If the rumor is true, I'd sure like to see that. I really like the idea of using the sun's energy to convert to electricity. It's a shame that most solar companies are crapping out over the last couple of years. As long as we can get carbon-based fossil fuel readily, nobody wants to be bothered investing into solar energy. \



    I feel bad for the animals that are losing their habitat, but humans are always pushing wildlife to the brink. The only thing that could be done about it is to control human population growth, but that's not gonna happen.



    Check out Germany's progress in alternative energy. Pretty impressive, they've already reached the EU's 2020 goal of 35% I just read.
  • Reply 52 of 62
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    I didn't say it WAS done that way, I said it COULD BE done that way. There would be some minor efficiency loss to putting the units on the ground, but it isn't impossible (lots if buildings do it that way).



    Clearly, Apple has a reason for putting them on the roof. I don't have any idea what it is, so I can't say if they made the right decision or not. I'm simply saying that it's POSSIBLE to put them on the ground.



    Clearly. So let's review - you can't put the solar collectors on the roof because it is filled up with air conditioners. So let's put the solar collectors on the ground. Sounds reasonable.



    No, Jragosta says scratch that idea. Let's put the air conditioners on the ground so we can put the solar collectors on the roof. What exactly is to be gained? Nothing!



    I don't think you understand the density of the AC units. They are placed about every 12m apart, covering the entire roof. To allocate that much space on the ground would put your cooling source 100s meters away from the space to be cooled. With the direct overhead model the condenser, coil, fan, return air are all enclosed in a single unit only a few meters from the heat source. It just makes no sense to do it otherwise.



    Let's leave the engineering to the engineers. Apple didn't just have an intern draw up the plans in OmniGraffle. I think they probably considered all the factors involved.
  • Reply 53 of 62
    wonder if Al Gore and his Investment General Management Corp is behind this..



    hm...
  • Reply 54 of 62
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Clearly. So let's review - you can't put the solar collectors on the roof because it is filled up with air conditioners. So let's put the solar collectors on the ground. Sounds reasonable.



    No, Jragosta says scratch that idea. Let's put the air conditioners on the ground so we can put the solar collectors on the roof. What exactly is to be gained? Nothing!



    I don't think you understand the density of the AC units. They are placed about every 12m apart, covering the entire roof. To allocate that much space on the ground would put your cooling source 100s meters away from the space to be cooled. With the direct overhead model the condenser, coil, fan, return air are all enclosed in a single unit only a few meters from the heat source. It just makes no sense to do it otherwise.



    Let's leave the engineering to the engineers. Apple didn't just have an intern draw up the plans in OmniGraffle. I think they probably considered all the factors involved.



    Once again, I didn't say that the A/C should be on the ground. I said that they COULD be.



    However, your 'logic' fails miserably. The A/C units only take up a small fraction of the amount of space of the solar collectors. So putting A/C on the ground and solar on the roof will take up a lot less ground space than solar on the ground and A/C on the roof.



    And you're wrong about the distance. First, it doesn't have to be hundreds of meters. Second, it's not that hard to insulate the lines decently.



    And, once again, I did not say that they SHOULD do it that way. I was simply pointing out to someone that it was an option.
  • Reply 55 of 62
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post


    Does this mean iCloud will be inaccessible at night?



    Cute.



    But it is already cute that iCloud will run under the sun.
  • Reply 56 of 62
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post


    Once again, I didn't say that the A/C should be on the ground. I said that they COULD be.



    However, your 'logic' fails miserably. The A/C units only take up a small fraction of the amount of space of the solar collectors. So putting A/C on the ground and solar on the roof will take up a lot less ground space than solar on the ground and A/C on the roof.



    And you're wrong about the distance. First, it doesn't have to be hundreds of meters. Second, it's not that hard to insulate the lines decently.



    And, once again, I did not say that they SHOULD do it that way. I was simply pointing out to someone that it was an option.



    Ok fine I don't want to argue about it. I'm just reporting the current state of data center design. If you you have better information and expertise, maybe you should get into the business since the current crop of PhDs are apparently severely lacking in understanding and insight in the discipline of data center engineering, at least according to your opinion.
  • Reply 57 of 62
    I saw this and had to comment. I live about 10 minutes from this location and pass it twice a day to and from work. There is a lot of smoke. I don't know if it is 24 hours, but it is going at 6:30 in the morning and 5:30 in the afternoon. I did not know what it was until I saw this. I'll try to get a picture.



    The part about Greenpeace saying Duke Power is dirty power is BS in this area. The power in THIS area of NC comes from dams on the Catawba River which make Lake Hickory, Lake Norman, Lake Roadhiss, and Lake Lookout Shoals. Yes, there are coal plants, but they are down in the Charlotte area and other areas of the state.
  • Reply 58 of 62
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,832member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kaiser_soze View Post


    When land is covered with trees, as is normally the case in North Carolina, you have to do something with the trees that you clear off the land. Obviously, if there is lumber value, you have that harvested first, but you still are left with a whole lot of scrappy wood that has no commercial value. What are you going to do with it? If you bulldoze it away, you only doze the wood half way into the ground, which just creates a huge mess. You have to clear off the wood. Then you are left with these really big piles of scrappy wood. It is very, very unsightly, and it also is a fire hazard, since it is prone to catch fire at any time. And it has nutrient value that is not available until either it decomposes naturally or else is burned. The standard practice is to go ahead and burn it and then spread the remaining ash over the land that has been cleared. It is probably not ideal from some perspectives, but nothing is ever ideal.



    Yes that is generally correct, but where I live no one burns land to clear it for commercial purposes. It is bulldozed and then the wood is chipped into mulch for landscape use or chipped and composted. There are even machines that go across the land and rip the trees out and shred them all in one step. In fact there was a big controversy here when a contractor mistakenly cleared land that was intended to be left alone. It had huge 100+ year old junipers on it which were destroyed.



    I think the contractor in NC is taking the easy, dirty way out and Apple is probably oblivious to the issue.
  • Reply 59 of 62
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mstone View Post


    Ok fine I don't want to argue about it. I'm just reporting the current state of data center design. If you you have better information and expertise, maybe you should get into the business since the current crop of PhDs are apparently severely lacking in understanding and insight in the discipline of data center engineering, at least according to your opinion.



    "current state of data center design" is useless unless you're talking about other data centers that have large solar electric facilities.



    The fact that 99% of data centers have their A/C on the roof doesn't mean anything when none of them have the same parameters (solar electric panels) that Apple does. You're comparing Apples and oranges.



    And, for about the 5th time, I'm not saying Apple SHOULD put the solar panels on the roof. I'm simply objecting to the statement someone made (and you are repeating) that it's the ONLY way to do things.



    It's also possible to put both the A/C and solar panels on the roof, btw. In fact, properly configured, it could even improve the efficiency of the A/C units by providing shade.
  • Reply 60 of 62
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Check out Germany's progress in alternative energy. Pretty impressive, they've already reached the EU's 2020 goal of 35% I just read.



    Germany's electricity production is nowhere near as clean as France's.



    Per capita carbon dioxide emissions in France were 6.1 tonnes compared to 9.6 in Germany.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...ons_per_capita



    For cars it's about the same in France and Germany. Nearly all the difference comes from much cleaner electricity production in France.
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