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Apple’s $2B Plan to Build a Green Data Center in GTAT’s Failed Sapphire Plant

Apple’s $2B Plan to Build a Green Data Center in GTAT’s Failed Sapphire Plant

The Mesa, Arizona facility formerly used by GT Advanced Technologies for its failed sapphire glass effort will be turned into a new green “global command” data center via a $2 billion investment from Apple.

Apple's $2B Plan to Build a Green Data Center in GTAT's Failed Sapphire Plant
The former GT Advanced sapphire plant in Mesa, AZ – Image credit: azcentral.com


The failed sapphire plant will now see $2 billion invested into the location over the next 10 years, the company announced on Monday, according to the Associated Press. The massive data center will serve as the control center for Apple’s four other U.S.-based data operations.

“This multi-billion dollar project is one of the largest investments we’ve ever made, and when completed it will add over 600 engineering and construction jobs to the more than one million jobs Apple has already created in the U.S.,” the company said in a statement. “Like all Apple data centers, it will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, much of which will come from a new local solar farm.”

Construction is expected to begin by late 2016. Currently, the facility still houses sapphire glass furnaces purchased by GTAT and Apple. Those furnaces are set to be liquidated as part of GT’s bankruptcy proceedings.

Apple says it will finance and build 70 megawatts of new solar power generation, enough to power over 14,500 homes.

“Apple is by far one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. Its decision to bring this new facility to Mesa is a huge win for Arizona and a high testament to our business-friendly climate and talented workforce,”¬†Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said in a statement.

Apple has previously built data centers in Maiden, N.C. (powered by the largest privately owned solar farm in the country), Reno, Nev. (powered by solar and geothermal energy), Prineville, Ore. (hydroelectric and wind energy), and Newark, Calif, which uses wind energy.

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