Power of the Sun

The in­dus­try is look­ing at ways to de­velop mech­a­nisms for ef­fec­tively us­ing al­ter­nate sources of en­ergy, es­pe­cially so­lar en­ergy

Voice&Data - - NEWS&VIEWS - Akanksha Singh

What it takes for a rev­o­lu­tion to be­gin is a small ini­tia­tive. For many years a lot has been said and talked about al­ter­na­tive en­ergy and its ef­fec­tive use for the in­dus­tries. CSR ini­tia­tives by ma­jor cor­po­rates have been done in the last few years but they are only in name.

But over the years, se­ri­ous and pro­gres­sive projects have been worked upon to de­velop mech­a­nisms for use of al­ter­nate sources of en­ergy in pow­er­ing the small-scale tech gears. Re­cently, IBM as­ton­ished the in­dus­try by its first so­lar power ar­ray, de­signed specif­i­cally to run high-volt­age data cen­ters, in­te­grat­ing AC and DC based servers, water- cooled com­put­ing sys­tems, and re­lated elec­tron­ics. This idea was con­ceived, ex­e­cuted, and is cur­rently used in­ter­nally by IBM. The new ar­ray is spread over more than 6,000 sq ft of rooftop cov­er­ing IBM’S In­dia Soft­ware Lab in Ben­galuru. The so­lar ar­ray is ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing a 50 kilo­watt sup­ply of elec­tric­ity for upto 330 days a year for an av­er­age of 5 hours a day. It is claimed that the new IBM so­lu­tion can cut en­ergy con­sump­tion of data cen­ters by about 10% and tai­lor so­lar tech­nol­ogy for wider use in the in­dus­trial IT and elec­tron­ics in­stal­la­tions.

In many emerg­ing mar­kets, elec­tri­cal grids are undependab­le or nonex­is­tent. Com­pa­nies are forced to rely on ex­pen­sive diesel gen­er­a­tors. That makes it dif­fi­cult and ex­pen­sive to de­ploy a lot of com­put­ers es­pe­cially in the con­cen­trated way they’re used in data cen­ters.

Even though so­lar en­ergy is not ideal to run data cen­ters as they need con­stant pow­er­ing fa­cil­ity and so­lar en­ergy is not re­li­able in that re­gard. Power by so­lar pro­duc­tion can fluc­tu­ate and a data cen­ter needs a steady, un­in­ter­rupted sup­ply of power. To this prob­lem, DC server in­stead of AC server is an an­swer. The emer­gence of DC servers is mak­ing so­lar en­ergy, which flows out of so­lar panels in DC also, a more at­trac­tive source of power sup­ply. Given such ef­fec­tive meth­ods to power servers and tech­ni­cal gears; a bank, a telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany, or a govern­ment agency could con­tem­plate set­ting up a data cen­ter that doesn’t need a grid. The so­lu­tion, in ef­fect, cre­ates its own DC mini-grid in­side the data cen­ter.

Green ini­tia­tives in data cen­ters and servers have also been around for some time but at a very neg­li­gi­ble level. What it re­quires is a strong ini­tia­tive to build up mech­a­nisms and in­fra­struc­ture for al­ter­na­tive en­er­gies to be uti­lized in pow­er­ing servers and tech­ni­cal gears at the back­end for cost ef­fec­tive func­tion­ing.


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