Apple Brings New Solar Farm and Data Center to Arizona

applebuildingApple recently announced that it plans to invest $2 billion within the next 10 years to open a new data center just outside of Phoenix, Arizona. The Phoenix facility will be the fifth of its type in the United States and will be a control facility for Apple’s global networks.

Originally, the facility had been purchased as a factory for GT Advanced Technologies to manufacture sapphire glass in partnership with Apple. Unfortunately, GT Advanced Technologies filed for bankruptcy in October 2014, citing production issues. GT Technologies claimed that the deal with Apple was one-sided and burdensome. Apple lawyers countered that GT was making false claims about the deal.

Following the GT bankruptcy, Apple stated that it was committed to finding jobs for the 600 GT employees and to searching for a new use for the plant.

Construction of the new data plant is slated to begin late next year at the latest, and Apple expects to have 150 permanent employees on-site. The data plant will be completely powered by renewable energy, most of which will come from the 70 megawatt solar farm that Apple plans to build and finance nearby. Apple data centers in Nevada and North Carolina are also powered by clean energy.

“Solar’s already hot, but Apple’s a huge presence in tech, so they just knocked over a lot more dominoes to put solar on the map for businesses and property owners alike,” says Michael Monroe, COO of the Boston’s only cooperatively-owned solar installation company, Great Sky Solar. “Here in Mass, with the hottest incentives in the US, this is welcome news for local outfits like us. If it wasn’t for corporations like Apple showcasing their faith in the obvious logic of solar, we wouldn’t have nearly the same fighting chance as a smaller company. It’s a truly exciting development as we move closer to dirty energy’s long-overdue demise.

The Phoenix Business Journal states that, though the state of Arizona has a $25 million business recruitment fund, Apple did not request any money from the state. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that Arizona showed Apple that it was the best state in which to do business.

“Apple is exactly the kind of high-tech innovative company we want in the state of Arizona and we showed them that Arizona is the place to be,” he added.

The new data center will provide computing power to Apple services such as Siri, iTunes, and iCloud.