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Today in Green IT: Will Apple’s solar moves be meaningful?

Will Apple embrace solar in any meaningful way? Apple has skated by, using lots of cheap, dirty, coal based power and earning an F from Greenpeace for its power sourcing, despite the almost $80 billion in cash it’s sitting on, points out our GigaOM Pro Green IT analyst Adam Lesser. But maybe even Apple is realizing that it needs to hedge its brand against being labeled anti-environment.

Apple picked up some bad press last summer after a slew of suicides at Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer of much of Apple’s hardware. Now that Apple is the 800 pound gorilla of tech, managing negative publicity surrounding its sustainability practices will matter more.

Here’s what else Adam is reading about and ponder in green IT today:

  • Gansky: In web startup world, sharing is the new ownership: Collaborative consumption proponent Lisa Gansky points to the smartphone as the critical enabler of the sharing economy.
  • ARM launches ultra-power-efficient processing: ARM continues to focus on the low power chip space with its new A7 chip design. With widespread reports that 4G/LTE handsets are sucking up massive amounts of battery life (note Apple’s decision not to go 4G with the iPhone 4S), efficiency advancements on the semiconductor become even more important.
  • In clean tech, venture capital looks for problem-solvers: I’ve written before about the shift in venture capital toward software enabled efficiency measures, and away from new clean energy production. Today’s Times story looks at the same issue.  Interesting is the quote from Google Ventures managing partner Bill Maris who says that capital-intensive projects, such as new clean power generation, are very hard to imagine as venture backed opportunities right now. This from an investment arm that in the past was willing to back both solar and biofuels.
  • Future of solar and wind power may hinge on federal aid: The domestic market for wind power is set to fall of a cliff in 2013 if Congress decides not to extend the Production Tax Credit beyond 2013.

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