Image Credit: Steve Parker/Flickr

Apple is now planning on only using 100 percent renewable energy to power its massive Maiden, North Carolina data center. Today, MacRumors reports that the North Carolina Utilities Commission has approved the company’s plans to install a 20-megawatt solar farm at the iCloud data center. The two solar arrays will be built on 171 acres of land across the street and will be capable of generating 84 million kWh of energy annually, allowing the new facility to operate entirely on renewable energy sources by the end of the year.

The two newly approved solar systems are in addition to the fuel cell Bloom Boxes we previously covered that Apple is investing in as part of its renewable energy portfolio. These fuel cells from Bloom Energy will burn trash from a landfill and will provide Apple with 4.8 megawatts of power in addition to the energy delivered from the solar arrays.

After taking a lot of heat from Greenpeace for its dirty energy consumption, Apple is working hard to clean up its image and carbon footprint. By investing in solar and biogas technology to run the North Carolina data center on only 100 percent renewable energy, it is off to a good start and hopefully will encourage other tech giants to follow suit.

UPDATE: Today, Greenpeace International released a statement about Apple’s plans, stating that “Apple’s announcement today is a great sign that Apple is taking seriously the hundreds of thousands of its customers who have asked for an iCloud powered by clean energy, not dirty coal.”

[via Reuters and MacRumors]