A giant solar array? An huge fuel cell facility? A second 500,000 sq. ft. data center?
I'm not sure I buy the main reason Jefferies' Peter Misek gave today for raising his Apple (AAPL) price target to $800 from $699: His "increased confidence" Apple is going to release the much-rumored iTV in the fourth quarter of 2012.
My own confidence that Apple is going to get into the television manufacturing business is roughly equivalent to my confidence that it's preparing to market a 7.85-inch iPad. Which is to say, I haven't got a clue.
But I think Misek is definitely on to something when he talks about the big changes underway at the site of Apple's data center in Maiden, N.C.
"Based on our analysis of building permits and satellite images," he writes, "we believe Apple is set to double the size of its already massive North Carolina data center. Apple has two adjacent tracts of land in Maiden, North Carolina. Also, Apple has filed to build a 20MW solar array, the largest end-user owned array in the U.S., and a 5MW fuel cell facility."
Why am I a believer? For one thing, I've seen the pictures, both the on-the-ground photograph printed Tuesday in the Charlotte Observer, and the "satellite" (they're actually shot from airplanes) images on Google Maps. (Click here to monitor the progress.)
Moreover, unlike its plans for future products -- about which it stays famously mum -- Apple actually talks about this stuff. See, for example, the Apple and the Environment report posted on its website in February:
Our goal is to run the Maiden facility with high percentage renewable energy mix, and we have major projects under way to achieve this — including building the nation's largest end user-owned solar array and building the largest nonutility fuel cell installation in the United States. (emphasis ours)
This fuel cell facility is a big deal. According to the Observer, its 24 modules will generate 4.8 megawatts at an enormously expensive estimated cost of $6.7 million per megawatt.
"That's a huge vote of confidence in fuel cells," James Warner, policy director of the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association in Washington, told the Observer.
The new facility in Santa Clara will grow to 3/4 the size of Apple's North Carolina data center
In what could be a new sign that Apple (AAPL) is stepping up its efforts in so-called cloud computing, Data Center Knowledge reported Wednesday that the company has signed a long-term lease for several megawatts of critical computing power from a data center under construction in Santa Clara, Calif., less than 10 miles MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 18, 2011 3:56 PM ET
An analyst imagines everything it might be when -- and if -- it opens this spring
Among the people who follow Apple (AAPL) closely, the massive server farm the company is constructing in Maiden, N.C., has achieved near mythic status. It has become the answer to every unanswered question about Apple's troubled online strategy, from what Steve Jobs was thinking when he green-lighted Ping to how MacBook Air users are supposed MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 23, 2011 6:13 AM ET
The 500,000-sq.-ft. facility is nearly five times the size of Apple's current server farm
Bill Wagenseller, an aptly named real estate agent based in Charlotte, N.C., has posted what is believed to be the first video flyover of Apple's (AAPL) billion-dollar server farm, now under construction 40 miles away in Maiden, N.C.
According to Data Center Knowledge, which spotted the 36-second video, the massive, 500,000-sq.-ft. facility will be nearly five times the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 22, 2010 3:23 PM ET
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