Apple's NC Solar Farm to Utilize High-Efficiency SunPower Panels, Online as Soon as October

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
49,579
10,893



The San Jose Mercury News reports that a regulatory filing has revealed that Apple's massive solar farm at its new data center in Maiden, North Carolina will utilize panels from San Jose-based energy company SunPower. The ground-mounted panels will track with the sun throughout the day and be installed in phases with the first batch set to come on line as soon as October of this year.
[A]n 18-page filing with the North Carolina Utilities Commission makes it clear that SunPower has been chosen to provide the solar panels for the massive solar farm.

"Each of the photovoltaic installations will consist of multiple SunPower E20 435-watt photovoltaic modules on ground-mounted single axis tracking systems," the filing states.

The solar farm will be built in phases and could begin delivering electricity to the grid as early as October.
The E20 panels from SunPower are being promoted as the world's first solar panels to reach 20% efficiency, incorporating the latest solar cell, inverter and light capturing technologies to boost performance.




Apple recently touted its plans for the solar farm and a complementary fuel cell installation as part of its commitment to alternative energy at the new data center. The 20-megawatt solar farm is said to be the largest such user-owned facility in the United States.

Article Link: Apple's NC Solar Farm to Utilize High-Efficiency SunPower Panels, Online as Soon as October
 

GubbyMan

macrumors 6502
Apr 3, 2011
327
1,094
Holy s***! 20% is amazing! The best solar panels a few years ago could just manage around 12%. I never knew the technology was moving forward this fast. :eek:
 

Kissaragi

macrumors 68020
Nov 16, 2006
2,340
369
Think 18% was the previous best from sharp? maybe sanyo? 2% in a few years isnt bad for solar.
 

Peel

macrumors 6502a
Aug 30, 2004
574
85
Seattle
I hope that it uses a modular design, so that in a few years, when they are capable of producing 25% or even 30% efficient cells, that they can be easily swapped out.
 

Dorje Sylas

macrumors 6502
Jun 8, 2011
499
330
Personally I'd be cool if down the line they could get some PV charging capacity out an iDevices black screen when it's in standby. There were patents for that I think.

IMO it's not power generation that's the big challenge, but storing that power. That's the nut that needs to be cracked, and it is actually in Apple's best interest to maybe spend some of it's billions there. More efficient and cheaper storage of more energy would make their products better.
 

Ynot

macrumors member
Jan 14, 2006
62
20
20% is not efficient

20% Efficiency is a Oxymoron.
even if 20% is the best we can do with Solar it is not efficient.
That is Marketing BS and nothing else. You could probably reach a higher efficiency by grown hay on the plot of land feeding Cattle an using there **** to fuel a Bloom Energy Fuelcell with the Biogas.
But it its harder to Market if you had write "Powered by ****" even if they are saying the same with 20% Efficiency.

:p
 
Last edited:

Consultant

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,302
27
Next year, solar panel production becomes more efficient due to large orders from Apple.
 

jwhazel

macrumors regular
Sep 22, 2005
198
28
20% Efficiency is a Oxymoron.
even if 20% is the best we can do with Solar it is not efficient.
That is Marketing BS and nothing else. You could probably reach a higher efficiency by grown hay on the plot of land feeding Cattle an using there **** to fuel a Bloomberg Fuelcell with the Biogas.
But it its harder to Market if you had write "Powered by ****" even if they are saying the same with 20% Efficiency.

:p
Yes, except for the fact that the energy harvested by solar arrays is free and requires no input work energy. The sun will always be there, shining light, waiting for us to scoop it up. Your cow **** power idea? Not the same.
 

Fried Chicken

Suspended
Jun 11, 2011
582
608
20% Efficiency is a Oxymoron.
even if 20% is the best we can do with Solar it is not efficient.
That is Marketing BS and nothing else. You could probably reach a higher efficiency by grown hay on the plot of land feeding Cattle an using there **** to fuel a Bloomberg Fuelcell with the Biogas.
But it its harder to Market if you had write "Powered by ****" even if they are saying the same with 20% Efficiency.

:p
:D :D :D

That was a hilarious read.
 

dokujaryu

macrumors 6502
May 3, 2011
359
12
Irvine, California
Yes, except for the fact that the energy harvested by solar arrays is free and requires no input work energy. The sun will always be there, shining light, waiting for us to scoop it up. Your cow **** power idea? Not the same.
Well, not only that but cows polute and use a crap load of natural resources to get big. I think it's kind of like the Matrix power source to look at cows for energy. Uhh, unless we combine it with a form of fusion.

Look, let's just say harnessing 20% of the near infinite energy of the sun is OK. Just don't scorch the skies if the robots attack. Shield yourself with cows.
 

Ballis

macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2008
923
822
Oslo, Norway
Yes, except for the fact that the energy harvested by solar arrays is free and requires no input work energy. The sun will always be there, shining light, waiting for us to scoop it up. Your cow **** power idea? Not the same.
I doubt cows will stop eating or ******** anytime soon.
 

monokakata

macrumors 68000
May 8, 2008
1,900
417
Ithaca, NY
Maybe I should feel like those people who bought a new Mac just before the updated ones came out.

Over the next couple of weeks I'll have 4 kw of the "E19" Sunpower panels mounted on my roof.

If I'd just waited I've have gotten another 1%.

But I'll sacrifice that 1% for something I can get installed now.
 

ChristianVirtual

macrumors 601
May 10, 2010
4,100
267
日本
20% Efficiency is a Oxymoron.
even if 20% is the best we can do with Solar it is not efficient.
That is Marketing BS and nothing else. You could probably reach a higher efficiency by grown hay on the plot of land feeding Cattle an using there **** to fuel a Bloomberg Fuelcell with the Biogas.
But it its harder to Market if you had write "Powered by ****" even if they are saying the same with 20% Efficiency.

:p
Even the first cars were slow and some people had to walk nearby with a flag ... Today we have lots of hours power and efficiency. It takes time; it takes tries. Innovation cycles.

Nice to see that :apple: takes is into reality; it ensure continuous improvement with the right technology.
 
Last edited:

mdriftmeyer

Suspended
Feb 2, 2004
3,252
993
Pacific Northwest
Holy s***! 20% is amazing! The best solar panels a few years ago could just manage around 12%. I never knew the technology was moving forward this fast. :eek:
To put it into perspective to non-Mechanical Engineers, an ideal Carnot Thermodynamic Cycle for a Power Plant is 44.5%. In reality, a far lower efficiency of Work/Heat for an ideal Nuclear Power Plant is possible.

An highly efficient Engine for an Otto Cycle you'd see in a Car is only 27%. Typically, it's around 22%.

Solar Panels are going to leap frog both. The hate for their superior efficiencies will be drowned out by the cost efficiencies of their systems in real world conditions.
 

Ynot

macrumors member
Jan 14, 2006
62
20
20% is not efficient

Creating Bio Gas is not a difficult or unproven technology and the Grass grows using Solar Power or also called Sunshine, you might have noticed and the neat thing that Cows even **** in the Dark, and the Bio Gas is available even if the Sun dose not shine, which is around 60% of the time (24hours) which the Datacenter will be running.
And if you uses the Bio Gas in the BloomEnergy Fuel Cells which deserve the Name Efficient. That is Future Technology developed for the Mars Mission. Your Marketing might actually be telling the Truth, instead of BS.
 
Last edited:

Arne

macrumors regular
May 14, 2006
172
0
Germany
I hope that it uses a modular design, so that in a few years, when they are capable of producing 25% or even 30% efficient cells, that they can be easily swapped out.
Bad idea. These cells need years until they have collected the energy that was needed to produce them...
 

OceanView

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2005
1,094
39
Bad idea. These cells need years until they have collected the energy that was needed to produce them...
Maybe but you gotta start sometime.
The first few years/decade will be the most expensive but in the long run, it will make the technology cheaper for the masses.
 

vipergts2207

macrumors 68020
Apr 7, 2009
2,196
3,330
Columbus, OH
To put it into perspective to non-Mechanical Engineers, an ideal Carnot Thermodynamic Cycle for a Power Plant is 44.5%. In reality, a far lower efficiency of Work/Heat for an ideal Nuclear Power Plant is possible.

An highly efficient Engine for an Otto Cycle you'd see in a Car is only 27%. Typically, it's around 22%.

Solar Panels are going to leap frog both. The hate for their superior efficiencies will be drowned out by the cost efficiencies of their systems in real world conditions.
I'm in thermo right now for chemistry and I absolutely hate it.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.