Conservation of energy, yes, but you are forgetting about entropy. Energy conversion has a statistically favored direction, generally from an ordered, usable form to a more random, less usable form. There is no perpetual motion machine.
Forget the cost of the initial installation of such solar array. The sheer paucity of adequate electricity from the conventional ways make it necessary to go to such alternate power sources as wind and solar to augment the power requirement. It is better than having to shutdown your data center 4 hours a day because of no power from the utility.
I commend this pioneering step taken by IBM , which many corporates should follow
Everybody wants something for free. Solar power, wind power, geothermal, it's all free, right? 10% of the power required by a data center is pretty good, but what is the cost of the solar array and the maintenance. Is it really cost effective? I hope so.
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Kris, to be sure, you're right and it will need a huge installation (I pinged IBM asking for exact numbers, they need to get back to me... I'll update once they do). On the other hand, I think this is squarely targeted at emerging markets and places where electricity is in very short supply to begin with, so it's not so much a replacement for 1st world data center power sources, as it is an enabling technology for a bank or small company in rural India. And as solar technology improves, so will efficiency. It's still early days for this kind of technology, and I think IBM is on the right track for at least giving it a go.
Great PR for IBM but really solar deployment will have to be huge to power data center...in Vancouver where I live we have a one wind turbine installed on one of the surrounding mountains that barely powers 20% of the restaurant...and that happens when the wind is actually blowing (there is not storage of the energy there)...when will the public wake up to reality of numbers involved in renewable energy sources??? perhaps EE Times could broadcast these numbers more visibly...Kris
"..initial solar deployment was currently powering almost 20 percent of the local branch’s data center energy requirements"
Can't help but notice data centers on an average consume nearly 20MW. However, this solar farm provides with only 50KW. I doubt whether powering 20% is a valid figure.