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172 comments

Reliability? (0)

tp_xyzzy (1575867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886716)

I bet they get 99.9999% reliability for their electricity... Sounds just like what the data center needs.

But it only works with Apple products! (2, Funny)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886736)

Yes but it will produce Apple electricity, which will only work with Apple products (such as the "licensed only" chargers for the iPhone). Sure it's possible to adapt the electricity to work with non-Apple products, but then they'll sue you for it.

but the power co can say you sell back the power (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886752)

but the power co can say you sell back the power and we can use it any way you want or we can cut you off and I don't think solar works at night.

Re:but the power co can say you sell back the powe (1)

pecosdave (536896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886776)

It's always been ok to convert non-Apple electricity to Apple electricity, that's why they license five volt adapters. [slashdot.org]

Re:but the power co can say you sell back the powe (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886916)

For a datacenter, I imagine they'll be using grid and solar together. What the solar can't supply, the grid does instead. That way you get the solar plant running continually at capacity, but aren't held back by the irregularity of weather.

Re:But it only works with Apple products! (4, Funny)

drolli (522659) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886766)

moreover they will later claim that any company who offers solar electricity to charge mobile devices violates apples patents.

Re:But it only works with Apple products! (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886834)

moreover they will later claim that any company who offers solar electricity to charge mobile devices violates apples patents.

Oh, now come on. Why would they ever do that? :)

Re:But it only works with Apple products! (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887366)

Only if the solar energy is collected with rectangular panels.

Re:But it only works with Apple products! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887394)

rectangular panels are fine as long as the corners aren't rounded.

Re:But it only works with Apple products! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887964)

With rounded corners.

Yeah, too bad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887492)

Too bad Apple actually cares about product quality. Things are licensed for a reason, sometimes, besides pure profit.

Re:But it only works with Apple products! (5, Funny)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887520)

Not to be outdone, I heard MicroSoft purchased the land next to Apple's and are planning on building a wind farm. But because the wind doesn't blow there all the time, they've decided to forgo installing generators and instead put in motors so the fan blades move constantly. Do to this cost increase, they are offering sticker placement all over the structures for their preferred OEM's. Also, to get the public excited and to generate buzz, they've decided to use some of the land to hold weekly or monthly concerts. Ticket's go on sale one day before each event.

Google, in the meantime, has come up with their own solution. They have built their own solar farm, which looks strikingly similar to Apple's, except the materials used are slightly cheaper quality. Anyone visiting the site will tracked throughout the complex (and some have even suggested they were tracked after leaving) and then blasted with offer's to buy cheap Viagra and tons of information regarding solar flares, the solar system, Solaris and the Southern Organization of Live Action Reenactments.

Re:But it only works with Apple products! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887740)

Not to be outdone, I heard MicroSoft purchased the land next to Apple's and are planning on building a wind farm. But because the wind doesn't blow there all the time, they've decided to forgo installing generators and instead put in motors so the fan blades move constantly.

As long as the turbines block the sunlight from reaching Apple's solar farm, mission accomplished.

Re:But it only works with Apple products! (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887654)

Since the power is going to the datacenter next door, you just KNOW they are going to use some special, proprietary power cable...

Apple is stealling from the Sun!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886764)

If this were Google, they'd be giving away the energy. Well, after they've used it and waited an appropriate amount of time.

Re:Apple is stealling from the Sun!!! (2)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887012)

If this were Google, they'd be giving away the energy. Well, after they've used it and waited an appropriate amount of time.

Yes, it will be beta juice for years until they get the bugs worked out, at which point everything you plug into it, from your refrigerator to your sump pump, will begin sprouting advertising and will watch your every move.

Ho ho ho. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886770)

Solar must be viable because if it wasn't profitable, they wouldn't do it, right?
Corporations always do what's in their best interest.

Re:Ho ho ho. (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886822)

Solar must be viable because if it wasn't profitable, they wouldn't do it, right?
Corporations always do what's in their best interest.

Close enough. :)

Construction and implementation+maintenance = loss.
Making green-friendly people happy = increase in sales = profit increase.

Mesh the two together, and there's a greater profit.

They're doing the right thing. Making people happy, increasing profit, and utilizing less fossil fuel product. Well, as long as they don't reduce cost of labor through some inhumane treatment on top of this move, it's beneficial :)

Re:Ho ho ho. (2, Insightful)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887058)

Construction and implementation+maintenance = loss.
( Making green-friendly people happy = increase in sales ) + ridiculous government subsidies for installing solar = profit increase.

FTFY

Re:Ho ho ho. (2, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887130)

( Making green-friendly people happy = increase in sales ) + ridiculous government subsidies for installing solar = profit increase.

"Ridiculous" is just you editorializing. AFAICT the subsidies are working exactly as intended: by encouraging the adoption of solar power, they grow the solar power market, increase the economies of scale for panel production, and bring the prices down quicker so that soon we'll have solar power that's cheap enough that subsidies are no longer necessary.

You may or may not have noticed that solar panel prices decreased by 50% last year [wbur.org] , and the market grew by 70%. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I don't think so.

Re:Ho ho ho. (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887210)

and bring the prices down quicker so that soon we'll have solar power that's cheap enough that subsidies are no longer necessary.

Wrongo. We have artificially-low prices to the end-user, with actually high prices that are masked by the subsidies that the end-user doesn't necessarily realize he's paying. Yes, it's bringing prices down faster, and it's bringing ACTUAL production costs down faster, and it will do so until solar power is cheap enough that subsidies are no longer necessary..... but that doesn't mean the subsidies will go away. Look at any other heavily-subsidized industry: Coal, oil, pharmaceuticals, wheat and corn. These are industries that pump money into politicians' election funds to ensure that their beloved tax breaks and subsidies will never go away. Renewable energy is approaching that point where they have extreme control over politics, except they have one extra benefit in that they have the undying support of the citizens as well. If we continue these ridiculous subsidies, they will never go away and we will forever be paying way too much for our energy.

That being said, I am in favor of government funding for research, so long as that research remains public and is patented by the government and licensed free of charge, or not patented at all. All subsidies need to be eliminated... people need to know just how much money they're paying for that gallon of gas, loaf of bread, or kWh of solar power.

Re:Ho ho ho. (1)

RCL (891376) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887444)

Your algorithm is susceptible to falling into local extrema. What if it's cheaper to pay for certain kind of energy, but it can be reasonably expected that its price will sharply go up during next 50 years? Isn't it better to pay more for another kind of energy which will stay roughly on the same level for next few hundred years?

This is not to say that I believe in "we're running out of oil/gas" predictions. I am just pointing out an obvious flaw of a "greedy algorithm" (choose whatever is cheaper now and hope that the price won't ever go up or costs of transition to next cheap thing will be affordable) - it's like buying real estate near dormant volcano just because it's cheap.

Re:Ho ho ho. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887278)

You mean because the Chinese are dumping panels on the US market for cheaper than it costs for the factories to make them? This is why US solar companies are going out of business. After more US companies get shut down, you will see solar panel prices rise quite steeply.

Look at the big picture; China is losing money by bad trade practices in order to capture the market.

Re:Ho ho ho. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887862)

US solar companies are going out of business? I only know of two, and both are building new factories because they managed to sell the entire production run in their current factories for the next year already.

Great (2, Funny)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886782)

Now they are going to claim they invented the sun, and the stupid fucking patent office will grant it to them.

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886816)

well, the sun has been making apples for a long time now.

now that prior art is dead, better file soon.

Re:Great (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887188)

Prior art is no more "dead" than it was before the new legislation.

Re:Great (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886828)

Now they are going to claim they invented the sun, and the stupid fucking patent office will grant it to them.

Now, why on Earth would you say something like that? That's just..... insane. :)

Re:Great (0)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887106)

Now they are going to claim they invented the sun, and the stupid fucking patent office will grant it to them.

Now, why on Earth would you say something like that? That's just..... insane. :)

He was taking an obviously extreme position in order to make a valid point, I think. Two of them, as I see it: one, that Apple, Inc. has a habit of claiming developments made by others as their own (because, as everyone knows, only Apple is capable of true innovation) and two, that thanks to Congress, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have been turned into corporate whores who will grant pretty much anything to anyone. Okay, so he was more succinct that I was.

Re:Great (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887172)

Whoosh

Re:Great (0, Offtopic)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887216)

Do you know what an emoticon of a smile could indicate?

Re:Great (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887556)

Do you know what an emoticon of a smile could indicate?

Yeah, I do. My bad. I was only halfway through my first cup of coffee.

Re:Great (1)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887568)

That's alright. I got modded down so I paid for it lol

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887044)

Why hate Apple for exploiting a Patent Office that seems to _want_ to be exploited? Until the USPTO changes, everything you've said is moot.

Re:Great (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887066)

Because Apple encourages people to "Think Different" and tries to convey the sense that it's not like every other corporate entity out there.

If they hadn't been so high and mighty about it, I doubt it would be seen as particularly significant.

Re:Great (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887200)

I think Oracle would object to that patent.

Solar power... (1, Interesting)

David_Hart (1184661) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886818)

I applaud this move by Apple. I'm a big proponet of solar power. The more companies that integrate solar into their energy needs, the less expensive the technology becomes. It's finally getting to the point where an average homeowner can break even on an investment in solar.

Re:Solar power... (2, Interesting)

poofmeisterp (650750) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886864)

I applaud this move by Apple. I'm a big proponet of solar power. The more companies that integrate solar into their energy needs, the less expensive the technology becomes. It's finally getting to the point where an average homeowner can break even on an investment in solar.

If you made the price one that equaled or exceeded the current monthly/yearly expenditure on electric bills -AND- made the equipment affordable up-front, it would be a win-win.

People are short-sighted these days with the economy being the way it is. They want to save money NOW, as well as save money long-term. Make it happen, that's your challenge.

Re:Solar power... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887434)

I think that's what solarcity is claiming to do...

There's a lot of hype, though and I wasn't able to figure out where all the money is supposedly coming from / going, so I'm suspicious of shenanigans...

Re:Solar power... (1)

jackspenn (682188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886870)

You do know that green energy is the next economic bubble and Apple is an evil company, right?

Re:Solar power... (2, Interesting)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886894)

The big advantage to green energy is that even if it is a bubble, you still accrue the long term benefits.

Re:Solar power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887180)

No you don't, solar panels dont last forever and the money that is being squandered on them could be put to much better use with other forms of energy. This is a PR gimmick.

Re:Solar power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887306)

There is the fact that solar panels are a false economy. They take a lot more energy in the process of making (seeding the silicon, doping it) than they will get back through their usable lifetime. It is like the adage, "to get a small fortune with solar, start with a big fortune."

This isn't to say solar is useful -- in essence a solar panel is like a battery, where it will get energy for something that can't be hooked to the grid. However, as a primary energy source, it fails the muster of putting out more energy than it takes to make.

Re:Solar power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887544)

You lie! http://www.energybulletin.net/node/17219 [energybulletin.net]

Re:Solar power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887790)

wind power has been viable for generations. solar thermal has been well understood as well.
photovotaics the polymers used degrade from heat. if heat resilient technology were developed they would last until it breaks.
also are you comparing crystal silicon to thin film solar?
thin film is real i've seen a 60" thin film transistor led tv. if we can't make solar cells with it we can make tvs/screens.
and technically reality is what you make of it. i am reminded of the matrix, where they put a pill (virus) into the head of a human watch it go into replication and watch as he gets dumped from the matrix automatically based on the defense system. really rewatch it if you want to they say 'it's going into replication'

Re:Solar power... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887880)

You're assuming that all of the money is going into production. A lot of it is going to R&D. Irrespective of what happens to the investors, the results of that R&D will remain. The same thing happened with the dot-com bubble - lots of companies went bust, but we still got a lot of new technology developed while they were spending money like water.

Re:Solar power... (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887428)

Bubble or no, it might be the impetus to get things shaken up in research in improving existing energy sources. Yes, I'm meaning nuclear. The problem is that virtually all reactors on line today are 1960s/1970s technology.

To use a car example, it would be like using pushrod engines with breaker points and still fighting it out over cubic inches as opposed to better ignition systems, with no car maker wanting to use any engine design improvements in the past forty years like EFI or OHC.

I'm hoping there is a green energy boom. This way, other energy sources might get looked at, and possibly improved. Solar is great, but what we need is improvement to nuclear and a phase-out of fossil fuels. Ideally production level fusion would be the best long-term, but until then, might as well work on thorium reactors and better idiot resistant (not idiot-proof, as there is no such thing) designs.

Re:Solar power... (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887566)

To me, nuclear should be part of the mid-term solution, to reduce coal to 10% (we have lots of coal, and will always have some coal plants), reduce natural gas to "on demand systems" only (nothing beats it except hydro), and while we are both developing wind and solar, AND finding more ways to reduce consumption. We are already expected to use less per person over the next decade, as more CFLs and energy efficient appliances and HVAC systems are being purchased. The key is a balanced approach that lets nuclear provide the bulk of the power for the next 50 years or so, while these new technologies are being developed.

Obviously, the other advantage of nuclear is that we have our own fuel and the capacity to produce it, just as we do with coal, some oil and some natural gas. There is no reason why being environmentally smart can't be good for our economy and security as well.

Re:Solar power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887054)

Almost all companies are evil in their own, mischievous / greedy way.

Not so fast there, buddy! (1)

Oh Gawwd Peak Oil (1000227) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886876)

You'll probably get some opposition [blogspot.com] to that . . .

Re:Solar power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886890)

Nah, I checked out this solar power thing back in the 80's. I don't think it will work for my family.

Re:Solar power... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886972)

Solar panels work best outside. You should move your family out of your mom's basement.

Re:Solar power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886896)

I'd approve of it more if they had chosen a cooler climate for the data center. Why is it when people make terribly wasteful choices that we applaud them for slightly mitigating their wastefulness?

Re:Solar power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887026)

This other AC claims Apple should have set it up further south [slashdot.org] . FIGHT!!!

Re:Solar power... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887082)

lol, the answer would be farther north. The amount of extra energy you get from the solar cells isn't likely to ever provide enough extra energy to provide the extra cooling. Heating in the winter isn't going to be a problem as the datacenter is going to produce more than enough to keep it within the design parameters.

Of course, if somebody does ever manage 100% efficient cells and a cooling system that's 100% efficient then it might theoretically break even.

They call this "greenwashing". (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886974)

HTH.

"It's finally getting to the point where an average homeowner can break even on an investment in solar."

Yeah, enough subsidies from the government you might be able to afford it as well.

Sans subsidies, a decade or more.

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (5, Informative)

polar red (215081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886992)

http://www.window.state.tx.us/specialrpt/energy/subsidies/ [state.tx.us]
2.8% of energy subsidies go to solar. 20.2 to coal, 25.7 to oil and gas (not counting the war efforts of course ...)

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887132)

Now compare the percentages against actual dollars spent.. oil, coal receive less than 1% of production as subsidy. Solar, 28%.

Neither percentage, nor nominal amount is really a fair picture though, since one is skewed by the fact that solar "money" builds capacity, as opposed to total output, whereas the other is skewed by solar being a much lower total source.

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887162)

Just to put this into perspective and checking the solar power production on the same year (year 2006, apparently it is about double of that for solar in 2010 ):

Electricity net generation:
solar: 0.6 billion KWh
coal: 1933.7 billion KWh
petroleum: 55.2 billion KWh
natural gas: 618.0 billion KWh ...
total: 3828 billion KWh.

source: http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/pdf/sec8_10.pdf

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887176)

And 3 lines further down on the same page. You get a percentage of the price which is subsidised.

Oil & Gas 0.5%
Coal 6.9%
Solar 12%

As I said. Sans subsidies it takes decades to pay back the capital costs of a solar installation.

Go on, run the figures yourself.

How much does your heat & electricity cost per year?
How much is the capital cost of an installation to satisfy your requirements?
How many years would it take to pay the cost of solar from the difference between the price of grid and the "free" energy?

Not a good investment. Even worse if the money is borrowed to fund the installation.

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887258)

http://www.ieet.org/images/uploads/317rn2.jpg [ieet.org]
http://unbridledspeculation.com/2011/03/17/the-exponential-gains-in-solar-power-per-dollar/ [unbridledspeculation.com]
http://venturebeat.com/2010/01/14/germany-may-slash-solar-subsidies-by-17-stock-prices-drop-around-the-world/ [venturebeat.com]
subsidies per Kwh are already dropping. they will go to zero in a few decades. Have you seen the same happening for oil, coal ?

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887918)

It is almost irrelevant what the "cost per watt" is. Almost. You see, there is this thing called "energy storage" and "base load power", and solar is neither. I can pile up a coal heap. I can store gas and oil in tanks. I can't store electricity anywhere, except gravity, but then that is hydro and limited by geography. And please, don't even mention batteries, unless you simply want to be sarcastic.

Who cares what "cost per watt" is when I need power when it is dark, or cloudy or when the wind doesn't blow. What is my "cost per watt" then??

So yes, with "solar panels everywhere", all we will get is reverse peak demand. Peak power cost will come at night or when it is cloudy. When the sun is out, the spot price will be nil, and then ROI for solar will be non-existent without subsidies either.

Anyway, here's the reality of solar. After $500 billion wasted on solar, all we get is cheap natural gas from shale fracking.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-26/the-energy-revolution-that-keeps-carbon-on-top-nathan-myhrvold.html [bloomberg.com]

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (1)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887540)

> Not a good investment. Even worse if the money is borrowed to fund the installation.

I agree that borrowing money is probably a poor choice for this stuff, but that's true in general for depreciating assets in general IMO.

As for "bad investment" -- not so fast. We do not have to convert solar to electric for all applications; there is a real possibility to make solar energy cost-effective when you use it to heat your home.

I'm currently looking at a product by CanSolair -- http://www.cansolair.com/productspecs.php [cansolair.com] . Their marketing literature says that a 1,000 square foot home can have its temperature maintained with 15 minutes of sunlight per hour.

Back of the napkin time --

According to their spec sheet, it can do up to 10,000 BTU/hr.

I have a 1200 square foot home, two levels (no basement), and an ideal unshaded south-facing wall upon which to put it (it will spill into the bedrooms' hallway) and a realistic outset. So, let's say I can get, on average, 40,000 BTU/day out of it during the heating season, which is Oct 20 - Mar 15 or thereabouts. That's ... 145 days or so, for a total of 5.8 MBTU in the season.

A cord of hardwood is worth about 22 MBTU. I burn 3 to 3.5/yr, at $300/cord. This makes my annual heating cost around $1000.

So, let's see, where was I... This means I use about 72 MBTU of heat a year, at a cost of about $13.6 per BTU. So this CanSolair thing would save me $74/yr, getting me to the break-even point in 40 years, assuming the cost of wood does not rise (which it will).

Jesus Christ, the numbers were much better when they were discussing them on the news. Can anybody see a problem with my numbers? Maybe they were comparing a more expensive fuel source than local hardwood?

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887978)

getting me to the break-even point in 40 years

Are you counting any rate of return for your money in an alternate investment?

assuming the cost of wood does not rise (which it will).

Yeah, faster than the rate of inflation around here. I've seen it nearly double in about 10 years (currently $250). But then again, so have all the other commodities, so perhaps the price is stable, it's just the Dollar and wages which have tanked.

I have 26 acres of forest as a backup plan.

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887914)

Hang on... First you say:

You get a percentage of the price which is subsidised.
Solar 12%

Then you say:

Sans subsidies it takes decades to pay back the capital costs of a solar installation

But those two don't match up. If 12% of the price is subsidised, then without the subsidy it would cost 14% more. If the break even point is 10 years with the subsidy, then it would be 11.4 years without. For a small-scale home installation, the break even point is closer to seven years without subsidy, for a larger plant it can be anywhere from 2-5 years. Without the subsidy it would be a few months longer, not decades, unless the subsidies are closer to 80% of the price, not the 12% that you claim...

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887230)

Sans subsidies, a decade or more.

10% yearly, tax free and inflation adjusted, but you can't get your primary back. I'd take it.

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887524)

You would take it or you did take it?

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887812)

Would. Why?

Re:They call this "greenwashing". (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887966)

I didn't take it, because a lot of R&D money is going into panels at the moment. They've gone from about 8% to 12% efficiency for cheap rooftop panels in the last couple of years, and 15% panels are available now. The theoretical peak is somewhere around 40%, and the practical peak before it starts to get really expensive is probably somewhere in the 20-30% range. Given the current rates of development, if I wait about five years then I probably won't get the subsidy (it's slowly being phased out), but I will get twice as much electricity generated for the same investment. Of course, I'd still encourage all of the early adopters to buy now and drive the prices down for me...

That said, I only have a house to power. If I had a large datacenter, then I'd be a lot more tempted. The cost of waiting five years would be a lot more, and I'd probably want to rebuild everything in ten years anyway, so building something that will be obsolete in a decade isn't so important, especially because on such a large scale it's easy to incrementally replace panels as more efficient ones become available and the old ones wear out.

Re:Solar power... (3, Informative)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887238)

The problem with the article, however, is talking about how dirty electricity is in North Carolina, and citing coal (yes it is, and yes we have them) and nuclear (which is not exactly dirty), but just a couple hours away are major hydro-dams, on High Rock, Tuckertown, Badin (Narrows) and Falls. Most of these were created up to 100 years ago for creating aluminum, which is no longer being manufactured here, so the power goes to the main grid. And hydro is as clean and 'on demand' as you can get. These aren't the only hydro-dams around here even. NC isn't the worst when it comes to pollution from power generation.

Re:Solar power... (3, Funny)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887518)

Unfortunately, this may be a huge setback for solar power as thousands of Slashdotters are now obligated to hate it because of Apple's move.

Oracle bought sun (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886848)

You sure the facts are correct? I am pretty sure Oracle bought Sun, not Apple.

Re:Oracle bought sun (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887078)

You sure the facts are correct? I am pretty sure Oracle bought Sun, not Apple.

So Apple is going to have to get a license from Oracle in order to use Sun's energy?

Re:Oracle bought sun (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887974)

Apple is just investing in the Sun to encourage Oracle's lawsuits against Android.

If only Apple set up further south... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37886872)

The amount of incoming solar radiation increases significantly the closer to the equator you are.

I live in Toronto, Canada, and not long ago the provincial government here made a big deal about setting up a solar array here (of course, with a significant govt subsidy).

A critic pointed out how much cheaper it would have been to buy land in Texas, set up a solar array, and send the power back (despite losses in transmission).

But then the govt wouldn't have had the nice photo-op...

Re:If only Apple set up further south... (2)

polar red (215081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887030)

that's why europe is planning this : http://www.desertec.org/organization/ [desertec.org]

Re:If only Apple set up further south... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887222)

that's why europe is planning this : http://www.desertec.org/organization/ [desertec.org]

Well, no, 'europe' [sic] isn't plannig any such thing. A private foundation in Germany is stumping the concept, seemingly in hopes that someone will bumble along and fund them so they can continue their quest for more funding to support more funding for political lobbying and re-education of doubters and dissenters as the to value of their plan for more funding.

Re:If only Apple set up further south... (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887268)

So, Germany isn't in europe ?

Re:If only Apple set up further south... (1)

Slashdot Assistant (2336034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887472)

More to the point, taking the actions of a small foundation to be representative of Europe as a whole is not very clever. Consider this example:

America is planning some under-age ball fondling fun tonight http://www.nambla.org/ [nambla.org]

Re:If only Apple set up further south... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887476)

It is, but German private foundation isn't "Europe".

Re:If only Apple set up further south... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887976)

Slashdot thinks you're an idiot.

See what's wrong with the original statement now?

Re:If only Apple set up further south... (1)

kermidge (2221646) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887590)

Thanks for the link; as mentioned below: [a group in] Europe is....

I saw this a few months back; I'll be much more interested when I see several of these being built and used. Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya might be worthy places to start.

Re:If only Apple set up further south... (1)

AJWM (19027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887408)

The flaw there is that (1) photovoltaic cells are actually less efficient at higher temperatures -- an I know how much hotter Texas is than Ontario, and (2) down around Lake Erie you're as far south as (northern) California anyway; a few hundred miles won't make that much difference.

But of course it's just PR, otherwise they'd be better off just adding another reactor to Bruce, Pickering or Darlington.

Re:If only Apple set up further south... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887912)

Yeah these are the same retards in the provincial government that "buy" power back at nearly 80c/KWH to put on the grid from green resources(specifically wind, and solar). And people wonder why the power rates continue to go up in Ontario. Ontario is pretty poor for anything outside of water based power generation. But the environuts don't want that, it might hurt the fish or something.

Needs a much bigger solar farm (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37886986)

Typical high-density data center power consumption: 500w/m^2 for entire building, per floor.

Max solar flux in NC about 1000w/m^2. But only for 6 hours a day on average. At 12% efficiency, that's 30 watts per square meter average. So the solar farm has to be 16x the size of the data center.

We'll be able to see from the aerial photos whether they put in enough panels that it matters.

Re:Needs a much bigger solar farm (1)

Arlet (29997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887334)

They'll just stack them 16 layers thick.

Re:Needs a much bigger solar farm (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887344)

Did you take into account the effect the solar panels (on the roof) will have on the temperature in the data center?
If the panels are 15% efficient, the amount of energy reaching the roof decreases by 15% which should lead to a temperature drop.
If the panels are mounted on frames above the roof, some additional energy will leak away as heat radiating from the panels will heat up the ambient air rather than the roof.
This won't make much of a dent in the 16x figure, but dropping that to 13x (assuming a 20% lower power load due to savings on AC) still saves a fair number of panels.

Re:Needs a much bigger solar farm (0)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887376)

Did you take into account the effect the solar panels (on the roof) will have on the temperature in the data center?

They have a white roof now. Dark solar panels will increase the heat load.

Re:Needs a much bigger solar farm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887450)

If you venture outside, you might experience shade. A shaded surface is much cooler than even a white surface.

The solar panels produce shade as well !!!

Re:Needs a much bigger solar farm (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887388)

The output graph of the solar panels nicely tracks their power usage stats (assuming that AC is their biggest variable load). So the installation makes a dent in their peak power usage, which saves more money than the average price/kWh they pay would suggest.

Re:Needs a much bigger solar farm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887402)

500w that's 4380kWh/y. In NC you need around 4.5kW peak solar power, which is around 32m^2.

Re:Needs a much bigger solar farm (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887542)

Which has an environmental impact, though certainly nothing like putting coal exhaust in our breathing air.

I don't understand why they're doing it this way. Green power is cheap in Iceland, there are three fiber trunks to the island, and cooling is easy.

Re:Needs a much bigger solar farm (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887582)

Max solar flux in NC about 1000w/m^2. But only for 6 hours a day on average. At 12% efficiency,

This is a concentrator plant so efficiency should be 50%+ at least. One of the a new concentrator plants coming online is supposed to be 72% efficient.

Great they decided to turn green (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887140)

It is great that they decided to turn green. Good for the environment

www.wuploaded.org

uh oh (2)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887144)

Greenpeace is going to have a shitfit over them using chemicals, and ./ers will claim that Apple will now claim they invented solar power.

Solar Power and Latitude (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887272)

I have a 15Kw Solar Panel on my roof. My Electric bill last year was £-126.00. Yep, the power company paid me... I guess I'm a Power Company.
I'm in the UK at a latitude just a little bit south of 55North.
You americans should go look at an Atlas and see where 55North comes on your side of the Atlantic.

Too lazy eh?
try this link
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/55th_parallel_north
Does the southern edge of Hudson Bay ring any bells.

I applaud Apple for this and anything they can do to reduce their reliance upon fossil fuels the better. I hope that other companies can follow suit and do the same.
However (but and there is one...), Apple should have bought a few square miles in somewhere like Az, Nm or even Tx and build their power station there. There is not doubt that there are more sunny days in that part of the US than in North Carolina.
Still, 'Every little helps'...

If Apple Was Half Smart... (-1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 2 years ago | (#37887412)

If Apple was half-smart, instead of doing this in part for PR reasons (solar is still not cost competitive with traditional power), they would be building this solar farm next to their data center with the most expensive power, not the cheapest. It would make far more financial sense, including that they'd get a better rate for sell-back in the process.

Of course, the Apple fanbois (including Rush Limbaugh LOL) will be calling this The Great Decision since Apple went to different packaging for their expensive toys.

Solar power sucks too? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887512)

People are bitching about solar power too? No wonder conservatives say that environmentalists want to turn back the clock on civilization.

Coal? NC is a nuclear power plant state... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37887724)

Most of North Carolina's cheap electricity comes from nuclear power plants. I'm curious where these coal burning plants Apple was lured by are...

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