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Facebook recognises importance of solar

10th Nov 2011

Facebook is leading the way for large corporations to adopt renewable energy sources, with a new facility to be fitted with solar power.

A solar cogeneration system will be installed on the roof of the fitness centre at the social media company's new office in Menlo Park, California.

The installation is due to generate 60 kilowatts of power - used for both electricity and water heating - which in turn will offset at least 60 per cent of the centre's energy needs.

It is believed that greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by three times with this new system.

This is not the first time Facebook facilities have featured solar - a 100 kilowatt system was installed at its Oregon meta data centre earlier this year, generating 204,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year.

Facebook follows in the footsteps of other recognisable brands embracing solar power, particularly those in the technology industry.

Google has a number of initiatives underway, including the creation of a fund in September to allow US households to rent rooftop solar panel systems from the internet giant - with plans to further the $75 million "initial investment" made by the company.

The search engine company's headquarters in California have also featured 1.6 megawatts worth of solar panels since 2007 and the company now invests more than $850 million overall to develop and deploy clean energy.

Reports emerged last month that Apple also intends to build a solar farm to help power its recently built $1 billion data centre in North Carolina.

According to technology website AppleInsider, the company plans to build a solar farm on the 171-acre lot next to the new facility.

Sustainable energy sources are familiar to Apple - the company's website boasts that just 2 per cent of its energy footprint comes from carbon-intensive facilities, while its operations in Texas, California and Ireland use 100 per cent renewable energy.

In Australia, the medical department of health product company Johnson & Johnson installed a 200 kilowatt solar power system at the company's facility in Sydney’s north west.

The rooftop farm - the seventh largest panel installation in the country at the time - consists of 952 panels and offsets 241 tonnes of emissions annually.

However, utilising solar power is not limited to large companies - Australian households also have the opportunity to reduce their electricity costs and emissions by installing a rooftop solar system.

Posted by Mike Peacock - Solar Correspondent

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