Some news is good enough that we don’t mind hearing it a second time (or a third). Apple gave its customers the best kind of déjà vu this week when a local newspaper in North Carolina reported that the company is building its third large solar farm in North Carolina to power its data center there, the building that stores all of your photos, videos and iTunes.

Apple’s latest investment, a 17.5 MW solar farm in Claremont, NC, shows that it is committed to keeping its promise of powering the iCloud with 100 % renewable energy. iCloud users should feel good knowing that clean, solar energy is powering their online lives.

In North Carolina, a state which has featured a booming solar industry in the past two years, Apple’s move shows how solar energy can be a big lure for the state to bring in modern, innovative companies like Apple that want to power with renewable energy. If North Carolina wants to keep bringing those kinds of businesses to the state, its regulators should make sure to properly value and support solar power, despite opposition from North Carolina’s monopoly utility, Duke Energy, which sees solar as a threat.Solar panels at Apple's data center in Maiden, NC. Courtesy GigaOM

Unfortunately, not all technology companies are showing the same forward thinking as Apple. Jeff Bezos, for one, should take notice of Tim Cook’s leadership as Apple proves that we can power our online lives with renewable energy, leaving Amazon further in the dust. With Amazon’s release of the new Fire smartphone and the associated growth in its photo storage, the onus is even higher on Amazon to commit to powering its data centers with 100% renewable energy, as its peers like Apple have done, or it risks becoming an even bigger polluter.

David Pomerantz blogs about climate and energy issues, focusing on solar energy, utilities, and technology companies. Contact him at with media requests.

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