by Dave LeClair
April 7, 2012
New aerial images of Apple's iCloud data center in Maiden, North Carolina have emerged via Wired. These images clearly show that Apple is making major headway in getting land ready for their biogas and solar farms. Wired went covert ops style to get these photos back in March, and released them late Friday. The images show a large area of land directly in front of the data center which is where we assume the Bloom Energy fuel cells will reside. These fuel cells have been used in nearly every NASA mission since the 1960s. They are a solid oxide fuel cell and according to Bloom Energy they, "hold the greatest potential of any fuel cell technology." The images also show 100 acres of freshly groomed land where Apple will presumably have their solar farm. Once complete, these will be great steps forward for Apple in powering their massive data center. In all, there will be 24 Bloom Energy Servers that run on natural gas provided by Piedmont Natural Gas. The large solar farm will use a 20-megawatt solar installation. Both will be used to power Apple's gigantic $1 billion data center. Once the project is complete, it will be the largest privately owned system of its type in the nation. The facility is currently used to power much of Apple's iCloud and iTunes services. It is also used as the brain center for their personal assistant known as Siri. Reports indicate that everything should be up and running later this year. The reports also indicate that these facilities will provide nearly 10 percent of the power needed to run the gargantuan data facility. The building that houses the data is around 500,000 square feet, so even powering 10 percent of it is no small task. Apple has yet to comment officially on these photos.