Saturday, March 17, 2012

20 MW Apple's NC Solar Farm?

Read the title or mention Apple and you immediately think about iPhone and iPad. You are not to blame for such alignment. In fact, to the people outside of the US these two products are the closest they could relate the blooming company to. Little known is Apple's green initiative for sustainable energy source in solar PV. The company is initiating a solar farm in North Carolina.

Mention Samsung to anyone anywhere in the world and chances are the person knows at least one or two of their telecommunication products. Apple and Samsung are two electronics giants that are shaping the way we communicate today. In their own right, they should be the front-runners in terms of sending the go-green message to the world. Let's look at how environmental-friendly they are.

Samsung's Green initiatives

Samsung Electronics' green initiatives are enveloped in its company-wide commitment called PlanetFirstTM, a commitment to become one of the world’s most environmentally friendly companies by 2013.

Samsung's green initiatives. Click image for large view.

In order to make this commitment a reality, Samsung targeted four specific areas: reducing greenhouse emissions, offering more eco-friendly products, building eco-management partnerships around the world, and investing in eco-friendly R&D design facilities. Obviously, this is a huge project, but we are proud to share some of the outcomes - by samsungtomorrow.

Check out Samsung's PlanetFirst™ short video clip here.

To summarise things for this company, Samsung Electronics' Green Initiative have accumulated green management investment to a total of US$1.90billion since 2009.

Apple's 20MW Solar Farm?

While Samsung focus its green initiatives on products and procedures, Apple seem to be a step ahead in harnessing renewable energy to power up its operations.

RenewableEnergyWorld carried a report in its magazine revealing Apple's plan for a big solar project at its new data farm in North Carolina.

In February,  Apple disclosed plans to partly power its giant new data farm in Maiden, NC, with a 20 megawatt (MW) solar system. Also part of the plan is a smaller fuel cell system. Early March, there was a new filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) that lays out more details about the proposed 100-acre project, including size, possible cost, and the main technology supplier.

Some of the information that can glean from the publicly available NCUC documents, filed under "SP-1642/Sub 0" are as follows:-

Size and scope: 
No of installations: 14 PV installations, though the final number is yet to be determined.
PV modules:  E20 435-watt photovoltaic modules, rated at 20% efficiency
Energy output: Planned  for 20MWl.

Expected to start delivering power to the grid as early as October 2012,
Whole installation to go online by December 31.

What's not said:
The documents don't directly get into costs either for Apple or Duke, except to say that there will be no discernable impact on Duke Energy's expansion plans or costs. For Apple, all it reveals is that the project will be self-financed from both current assets and ongoing operations, and represents "less than a quarter of a percent of positive cash/securities balance." However, in Apple's latest public filing as of Sept. 2011 (also listed in the NCUC docs) that cash/securities number is listed as $97 billion, so 0.0025 percent out of that is roughly $242 million - source:

TheGreenMechanics says: I believe it's their noble intention

Both Samsung and Apple have so far shown interest and investment (read commitments) in ensuring sustainable working environment, and products.  

On whether they are looking more at taking care of their bottom line, is remained to be seen but indications are that both electronics giants are also caring for a safer and sustainable environmental care.

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