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New aerial images of Apple's planned NC fuel cell, solar farms emerge

Pictures of the area surrounding Apple's iCloud datacenter in Maiden, North Carolina show that progress is being made in preparing land for the company's future biogas and solar farm energy arrays.

The images, captured by Wired in March and posted on Friday, show a large swath of cleared ground in front of Apple's datacenter that will presumably house the Bloom Energy fuel cells as well as 100 acres of freshly razed land that is expected to be used for a solar farm.

Apple will employ 24 Bloom Energy Servers using natural gas supplied by Piedmont Natural Gas and a 20-megawatt solar installation to power its massive $1 billion datacenter. Once finished, both of the energy sources will be the largest privately owned systems of their kind in the nation.

Opened in early 2011, Apple server facility supports its iTunes and iCloud services and is the nerve center of the iPhone 4S' Siri virtual assistant.

Reports estimate that the alternative power sources will begin operations later this year and will provide 9.8 percent of the energy required to run the 500,000 square-foot datacenter.

Solar Farm
Cleared land across from the Maiden datacenter to be used for solar farm. | Source: Wired