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Apple to build America's largest private solar farm

Apple's data center in Maiden, N.C. Apple

(CBS) - Apple plans to build to America's largest privately owned solar facility, according to the company's 2012 facilities report.

Improvements to the massive data center in Maiden, N.C., which was commissioned by Apple in 2011, will include the 100 acre solar farm, green building design and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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"To meet the energy needs of the Maiden facility with high-percentage renewable energy mix, we have embarked on an industry-leading renewable energy program," the company said in the facilities report. "Apple is building the nation's largest end user-owned, onsite solar array on the land surrounding the data center."

Apple highlighted the Maiden facility's energy-efficient designs in the report, which include a chilled water storage system, white cool-roof design and the use of outside air to cool the facility during nights and cool weather.

The new plans for efficiency include the 100-acre, 20-megawatt facility and the nations "largest non-utility fuel cell installation operation."

Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. was also mentioned in the report. The company said the campus' energy-efficient improvements will pave a way to operating with 100 percent renewable energy. Currently, the Cupertino offices have saved 5 million kilowatt-hours in energy savings, has a recycling program and composts cafeteria waste. 

All of these upgrades are part of a three-tiered plan that includes energy-efficiency, generating clean energy onsite and purchasing any additional power from clean, renewable sources.

The full environmental report is available at the Apple website.

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