The computing industries tend to build more energy-efficient data centers to save money on electricity bills, but if your company is in California, it could also get a fat check in the form of a PG&E rebate for green data center efforts. This morning California utility PG&E said it has given Internet services company NetApp a $1.43 million rebate — the largest new construction incentive the utility has awarded — for its efforts at an engineering data center in Sunnyvale, Calif.
NetApp says it focused on ways to make its data center use power more efficiently and decrease the power used for cooling the data center — tools to deliver that goal included adding energy-efficient transformers, outside air economizers, a variable primary chiller plant and flywheel systems for backup power. All those techniques have created a data center with a power usage effectiveness (PUE) metric of less than 1.3. — that’s really impressive — and means NetApp is saving 11 million or so kilowatt-hours per year. While that $1.43 million rebate is likely just a drop in the bucket compared to the overall cost of the data center, the company also says it can save the equivalent of $1.18 million per year in power savings.
Computing is a power hog, and servers alone suck up 1 percent of the world’s electricity usage. That figure is set to grow considerably over the next 5 to 10 years. Computing companies are making data centers more energy efficient just to save money from reduced power consumption, but the result is that the computing industry can reduce its overall carbon footprint, too. It’s not just large companies focusing on these efforts, either: Startup Advanced Data Centers is working on some of the greenest datacenters in North America in Sacramento. But companies from Google to Yahoo, Dell, and Sun are following suit. We’re going to have a panel on this at our Green:Net conference on March 24 in San Francisco, so come check it out.
Update: PG&E has also provided rebates for green data center to HP and the State Compensation Insurance Fund, as well as rebates for new construction projects to other tech companies like 365 Main, Google, Charles River, Adobe, Cisco, eBay and Juniper.