It takes a lot of land to build a 20 megawatt array of solar panels. Apple has been busy clearing land in Maiden, North Carolina, where the company has announced plans for a huge field of photovoltaic solar panels to support its data center facility. A new aerial video shot this month by Five 9s Digital provides a sense of the scope of the property being dedicated to the new solar array. The land for the solar facility is across the road from the 500,000 square foot iDataCenter.
The Apple solar facility would be the largest solar array dedicated to data center operations, surpassing a 14 megawatt array being built to support the McGraw-Hill data center in East Windsor, New Jersey. Apple disclosed its renewable energy ambitions in Maiden in the company’s latest environmental report.
The use of huge solar arrays to support data centers has been debated this week, as Amazon's James Hamilton suggested that the land use and economics of solar don't scale to data center requirements.