Apple To Build Billion-Dollar European Solar Data Centers To Power iTunes, App Store, Maps

Apple said Monday it would spend about $1.92 billion (€1.7 billion) to build and operate two data centers in Europe, each completely powered by renewable energy. The facilities -- located in County Galway, Ireland, and Jutland, Denmark -- will power Apple’s online European services including iTunes, App Store, iMessage, Maps, and Siri.

The facilities, each measuring 166,000 square metres, will run entirely on clean, renewable energy sources. Both will begin operations in 2017. Apple with local partners to develop additional renewable energy projects from wind or other sources to provide power in the future. These facilities will have the lowest environmental impact yet for an Apple data centre.

Apple plans to recover land previously used for growing and harvesting non-native trees and restore native trees to Derrydonnell Forest for the project in Athenry, Ireland. The project will also provide an outdoor education space for local schools, as well as a walking trail for the community.

In Viborg, Denmark, Apple will build the data centre adjacent to one of Denmark’s largest electrical substations to eliminate the need for additional generators. The facility will capture excess heat from equipment inside the facility and conduct it into the district heating system to help warm homes in the neighboring community.

The move follows Apple's solar advancements in the United States. The company signed a 25-year contract with First Solar, making it the solar industry’s largest commercial power deal in the United States, according to First Solar. For Apple, the solar farm will generate enough renewable energy to power the new Apple campus, all its California offices, 52 retail stores, and the data center in Newark.

Meanwhile, the European facilities will support nearly 672,000 European jobs, including 530,000 jobs directly related to the development of iOS apps.

Apple now directly employs 18,300 people across 19 European countries and has added over 2,000 jobs in the last 12 months alone. In 2014, the company said it spent more than €7.8 billion with European companies and suppliers that help to build Apple products and support worldwide operations.

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