Microsoft plans to install solar panels on the roof of its new Internet data center in San Antonio to provide renewable energy for some of the facility's massive power requirements. The $550 million, 470,000 square feet facility will ultimately use more than 50 megawatts of power, making it the largest single customer of the local utility, CPS Energy. The facility will house thousands of servers to power Microsoft's Live online services.
Microsoft's decision to use solar panels in this setting is unusual. Data centers use enormous amounts of electricity, but few of these facilities use solar power because of the cost and scalability issues. Only one small data center, AISO, is known to be powered entirely by solar power.