As the Internet continues to grow, giving us answers to whatever we Google, storing our photos and music in the “cloud,” and opening Facebook to the next generation, we must not forget that all that data takes a lot of energy to produce . Data centers consume an immense amount of energy, motivating industry giants like Google and Apple to try to quell their carbon footprints with solar installations and energy efficient design. Australian data center operator NEXTDC looks to be getting on the clean energy data center kick as well, building what it says is Australia’s largest privately owned rooftop photovoltaic solar system at their M1 data center in Port Melbourne.
To turn their plan into reality, NEXTDC partnered with Australian solar power firm Energy Matters, who will construct and install the system in the next few months. The $1.2 million installation will consist of 400 kW of solar panels and is expected to generate around 550 megawatt hours of electricity each year. The energy savings will offset over 670 tons of CO2, equivalent to taking 200 cars off the road.
According to NEXTDC’s CEO, Bevan Slattery, this solar installation is just the beginning of the company’s efforts to reduce their environmental impact. They are already incorporating trigeneration plant and outside free-cooling features into their new-build data centers. Aspiring to lead Australia’s ICT sector in solar and efficiency, they plan to continue implementing more efficiency measures and more solar installations throughout Australia.
“We are proud to be the first data centre operator in Australia to invest in solar energy,” Slattery said. “In fact, we are also committing to install up to 1MW of solar energy within the next 12 months at our upcoming data centre facilities”.