Apple to plug in solar power to data centre -

There are more strange goings on at Apple's hugely expensive data centre in Catawba County, North Carolina.

The hugely expensive white elephant data centre was initially expected to provide shedloads of processing power to the forming iCloud. The site is so big that it dwarves Google operations and really would stick Jobs' Mob on the map – if it was ever used.

So far the site appears to be run by a skeleton staff and there is no indication that it has even been switched on. Hacks who have visited the site report it is empty and only one visitor shows up a day. We have reported that the size of the $1 billion data centre is too large for Apple's needs even allowing for future expansion. At the moment the iCloud does not even use it.

This week, the Charlotte Observer noted that permits issued by Catawba County indicate Apple has been approved to reshape the slope of some of the 171 acres of vacant land it owns on Startown Road, opposite the data centre for a new solar farm.

Apple has said nothing yet. It said that it supports sustainable energy efforts, but it is yet to use solar power.

It makes sense that Apple should power its North Carolina data centre using solar energy. Greenpeace has been muttering that Apple should not have set up in North Carolina because the State uses coal powered electricity.

But cheap electricity is one of the reasons that technology outfits have been setting up data centres in North Carolina and one of the reasons Jobs' Mob set up its flagship data centre.

Ironically, Catawba County residents have been upset that Apple has been generating shedloads of greenhouse gases clearing the land for the new solar farm.

But the "Dolphin Project" site is shaping up to be one of the strangest projects that Apple has ever done. Invest a billion dollars in a data centre you hardly use, in a region where the only real reason to set up is because you can get cheap coal power. Then spend more money converting the site to solar power and thus make the whole location pointless.