A Solar Powered Data Center: Is it Practical?
Renewable energy is a hot topic right now, and it has been at the forefront of data center innovations for a while, too. Solar power is a major component in the renewable energy segment and ,though it has vast potential, it hasn't been adopted as an integral power source in the industry. There have been, however, notable steps in this direction. But, is a solar powered data center practical?
Installing solar power panels is where it all begins. Solar energy, as it stands today, isn't really potent enough to fulfill the power consumption requirements of a data center. The investment required to put up huge photo-voltaic solar panels is huge and, based on prevailing costs of material as well as installation, it takes several years to recover investments. The reason for the long break-even period is the fact that, in line with the current technology we have access to on the solar power front, the actual power generated is far less. An installation of few hundred panels, covering an area of thousands of square feet, for example, has the potential to generate around a couple of hundred kilowatts of electricity on a good day. The investments for such a project however, amounts to around several millions and, considering the power output, it can easily take a couple of decades to recover this invested amount.
Cost-effectiveness is, of course, a factor that is being worked on, as is the technology. The government encourages the use of solar energy by offering tax cuts to a data center implementing it. Though not a practical solution (yet!), the move is often regarded as one that sends a message. After all, any attempt at reducing your carbon footprint is welcome and installation of solar panels accomplishes this, even if it is on a small-scale. The good thing is that as adoption of solar energy increases, solar panels cost less.
At Lifeline Data Centers, we believe that renewable energy is the way to go. After all, we also have to worry about depleting resources. With the continued innovations in solar energy, we ensure we are on track to integrate these innovations into our data center structure whenever the time is right.
For more information on how we use energy-efficient ways to power our data center, download our "Why Data Center Power Compartmentalization is Important" white paper: