Kris, you got it right, this more a PR than substance for IBM! Its facility in Bangalore doesn't have the area needed for mounting the requisite solar panels. I am guessing here, 50KW was probably the max IBM could get out of its installation in B'lore. But a co-generation facility utilizing wind and perhaps biomass can perhaps add a few kW's more to the solar panel's output.
Hats off to a wonderful initiative being taken by IBM, Data Centers are the place where the solar panel can be best suited and applied. The technology can be given best start-up from this kind of high end sophisticated power usage.
Great work done IBM.
I do business with a sub-contractor in India and he suffers intermittent AC power, so he needs extra batteries to run his UPS to keep working. One day recently he had to stop because his reserve power was exhausted.
It used to be like that in the West, in country districts and farms you just lived your life around resources that came and went.
Are we seeing IBM repurposing themselves as a green utility provider, or is this just to sell servers to the third world?
As Prabhakar mentioned, an essential additional benefit here is to be self sufficient in power when the grid is unreliable. While solar cell power may command a slight premium; backup power systems are staggeringly expensive and often noisy and unreliable. If the solar cells allow the data center to be more reliable and to eliminate a generator, the payback is probably very good. Starting solar cell deployment where power is unreliable is a great strategy.