Apple to build solar farm to power Reno data center

Abound Solar's thin-film solar panels. Abound Solar

Apple is planning to build a solar farm to power a data center the company's next data center in Reno, Nevada.

The tech giant will partner with NV Energy to construct a 137-acre solar array that will produce 43.5 million kilowatt hours of power annually. According to CNET, the nearly $1 billon project is said to provide clean energy for Sierra Pacific Power's electric grid.

Apple's Reno facility will be its latest data center with state of the art eco-friendly design. Its facility in Maiden, N.C. has a 100-acre solar array that produces 42 million kilowatt of energy a year. The company says its Prinveville, Ore. data center will utilize micro-hydro power, generated by water flowing through irrigation canals.

"All of Apple's data centers use 100 percent renewable energy and we are on track to meet that goal in our new Reno data center using the latest in high-efficiency concentrating solar panels," the company said in a statement.

Just last year, environmental group Greenpeace accused Apple, among other tech companies, of having poor energy policies. It gave the tech giant a "D" grade in renewable energy use. At the time, the tech giant pushed back, saying the Maiden and Prineville facilities, which were planned, would run on renewable energy. Greenpeace said Monday the Reno facility further reinforce Apple's claims that its energy policy is improving.

"Apple's latest investment in solar energy in Nevada shows that the company is making good on its promise to power its iCloud with 100 percent renewable energy. The detailed disclosure that Apple gave today can give confidence to Apple's millions of users that the company is powering its corner of the Internet with clean energy," Greenpeace said in a statement.

Apple says the amount of fossil fuel saved by going solar would be equivalent to taking 6,400 vehicles off the road each year.