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Apple planning solar farm near data center, report says

The company has been granted permits to reshape land for a solar farm next to its massive data center in Maiden, N.C., according to the Charlotte Observer.

Apple plans to build a solar farm next to its massive data center in Maiden, N.C., according to a Charlotte Observer report.

The company has won approval to reshape the slope of 171 acres of vacant land it owns adjacent to the data center in preparation, according to permits issued in Catawba County. However, the permit offered no details about the solar farm project itself--dubbed Project Dolphin Solar Farm-- including its size, the newspaper noted.

Apple has spent reportedly $1 billion to build a 500,000-square-foot behemoth of a data center in Maiden, N.C., which had the code name Project Dolphin. Apple hasn't said how it will use the server farm, but there is speculation that it will power the cloud services that Apple is working on, according to numerous sources.

Apple representatives did not respond to a CNET request for comment.

The company has shown a good deal of interest in renewable energy, for both its facilities and gadgets. Apple's facilities report for 2011 (PDF) says the company's sites in Austin, Texas, Elk Grove, Calif., and Cork, Ireland, are powered by 100 percent renewable energy resources.

Although Apple has not yet released any solar-powered gadgets, the company was awarded a patent earlier this year for a system that uses a solar panel for charging different portable devices, including a notebook computer, tablet, phone, or other handheld gadget.