You probably don’t think about all that email you have saved in your inbox. But all of those correspondences, not to mention documents, pictures and videos are being saved thanks to the help of data centers located all over the United States. And those data centers are energy hogs.
One data center can suck down the same amount of power as nearly 200,000 homes. So, it’s nice to hear that online auction site eBay is now getting some of its data center’s power from renewable energy sources. The company just announced its largest solar installation to date via new solar panels that will sit atop eBay’s Topaz data center in South Jordan Utah, the same facility that has been awarded LEED-Gold by the US Green Building Council.
The installation includes a 665 kilowatt (kW) solar power system, featuring 72,000 square feet of solar panels. Those panels cover nearly every bit of every inch of roof space on the data center. The installation is expected to produce 924,013 kilowatt hours (kWh) of power each year, which is said to be enough to offset 702 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Along with all the good environmental karma the company is building up for itself, there are additional benefits to the solar installation. The project, for example, is expected to pay for itself in just about four years.
The Topaz solar array also isn’t the company’s first foray into renewable energy generation. It also has a 650 kW array and 500 kW Bloom fuel cell installation at its San Jose headquarters and a 100 kW solar array in Denver. That brings its total renewable energy capacity to just under 2 megawatts, which is the equivalent of 11 percent of the company’s overall US data center electricity demand.