TODAY   |  April 24, 2014

Tech giant goes green with renewable energy

Apple is moving to shrink its carbon footprint, building the nation’s largest privately owned solar farm to run its data center. NBC chief environmental correspondent  Anne Thompson reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> farm. the tech giant is polishing its image and going green in a very big way.

>> okay. here is the weather for new york city .

>> reporter: all the cool convenience of your smart phones and tablets come with a hidden price -- power. but downloading apps and information in the cloud no longer means polluting the air. is it possible to have green internet?

>> sure it is. absolutely.

>> reporter: lisa jackson , who once led the epa, now runs apple's environmental initiatives. the company that brought you the ipod and ipad is shrinking its carbon footprint, building the nation's largest privately owned solar farm to run its data center in north carolina .

>> we think this is an opportunity for us and for our sector to leave it better than we find it, to actually help people convert to cleaner energy without even knowing they're doing it.

>> reporter: these solar panels help power billions of messages, hundreds of millions of photos, and millions of facetime chats every day. all that activity is processed through data centers. rows of telecommunications equipment that are blue ribbon energy, using up to 2% of all the power in the country. jackson gave us a first look inside the core of apple systems. how hot is it?

>> about 103 degrees in here.

>> reporter: and this is why data centers are so energy intensive?

>> keeping the machines cool is what we're after.

>> reporter: while yahoo, facebook, and google all use some green energy for their data centers, only apple is using 100% renewable power, earning most improved from green peace in its raes eecent survey of internet companies.

>> if they can get all the power needed from renewable sources that is a graen ligeen light for the rest of us.

>> reporter: here in north carolina the solar panels work with biogas fuel cells and create enough electricity to light up nearly 14,000 homes a year.

>> part of the grid, many days if the sun is like today we are generating excess power and can put that on the grid for other customers to use.

>> reporter: kinder to the earth and customers, combining innovation and environmental protection to gain a competitive edge. for "today", nbc news, maiden, north carolina .

>> a little of the heat