Apple’s massive billion-dollar North Carolina data center, which received a failing rating in a Greenpeace report earlier this year, may soon be powered by a solar farm. The Charlotte Observer recently uncovered permit plans from North Carolina’s Catawba County that show Apple’s intentions to adjust the terrain on a 171-acre plot across from its data center. The plans are titled “Project Dolphin Solar Farm A Expanded” but they do not discuss the solar farm itself. Instead, they detail roads, erosion control and a strategy to avoid disturbing local streams and the local environment with construction work. Apple has yet to apply for a building permit for the site, but more information will likely be revealed if it does. This is not Apple’s first foray into eco-friendly power; its facilities in Austin, Texas; Sacramento, California; and Cork, Ireland already run on 100% renewable energy. The Cupertino-based company currently relies on coal and nuclear power from Duke Energy to run its North Carolina data center. More →
We’ll be honest, we didn’t quite expect Ralph Lauren to be the company to introduce a useful solar-powered backpack to power our gadgets while on the move. The Ralph Lauren RLX backpack offers a pretty large solar panel built in to the back of the backpack, one that the company says can charge a phone in around two hours. The backpack itself is water-resistant, with a decent amount of pockets and storage space, and generates a 3.45 watt current which is enough for most any mobile device or handset. It’s available in two colors, black and orange, is made in Italy, and will run you a steep $795. More →
GigaOM is reporting that T-Mobile is testing a completely solar-powered cell phone tower here in the States. The single tower — located in Chalfont, PA — generates enough power to keep the site off the grid and, at times, feed power back into the country’s aging electrical system. Pike Research estimates that 4.5% of all cellular stations worldwide will use solar or wind energy by 2014. The report indicates that although the tower does cost 2 to 3 times more than the standard, grid-powered equivalent, savings in the long run — in electricity, tax benefits, and initial setup costs — could very well make up for the difference over the life of the tower. Hit the read link for the full report. More →
Here at BGR, we’ve learned several truths over the years: What happens in Vegas does not always stay in Vegas, you really shouldn’t eat yellow snow and most importantly, there is no such thing as a phone with a big enough battery. Discounting those first two for the time being, we’re long-time Proporta portable battery users as having that extra 3400 mAh of juice in reserve can be a life saver. Last month however, we were made aware of an alternative option from London-based Devotec Industries and our interest was immediately piqued. While Devotec’s offering holds 47% less juice than our Proporta battery, we couldn’t help but get reeled in by a key feature that no other portable charger we’ve come across in the sub-$40 price range can tout — solar. Needless to say we scooped up a handful of them and went to town. Hit the jump to read our impressions of the Devotec Solar Charger after a few weeks of abuse from the BGR staff.