Sun (as in solar) Modular Data Center

I mentioned briefly that the SunMD unit at CeBIT was hooked up to solar-power. Ingo Frobenius, the Sun Engineer involved in the effort, provided me with more details about the solar installation.

The solar array was about 65 square meters providing 10kW of power. The normal generator used with the SunMD truck was replaced with a transformer and the unit was also attached to the power grid for when the solar panels were not producing power (which happened during the first day of snow :-).

Its true that 10kW is not going to power a complete SunMD unit. The average rack has a 12.5kW power supply (though if you fill the rack with 4 Sun Blade 6000s, you will need 25kW power supplies with your rack). But keep in mind, many of our warehouses have far more than 65 square meters of space to put solar panels. Next time you are flying over a warehouse region of a city, just look at all of the rooftops that face up towards the sky, there is more than enough space to power a few fully-equipped SunMDs. In fact, some customers estimated the roof-space of their warehouses at about 1000 square meters (enough power for the SunMD and the chiller).

In Germany (home of CeBIT), solar energy is sponsored by the government in many regions, helping make solar energy a reasonable proposition for powering SunMD.

I have to give a "shout out" to all of the companies that participated in the demonstration (in addition to us, Sun Microsystems, with the SunMD):


  • Ersol - produced the solar cells
  • GES - takes the solar cells and builds the solar panels
  • ALTEC - producing aluminum frames for mounting solar panels
  • Intel - Rockin' Processors in Sun Servers

Go Green!

Ingo, thanks for all of the details!

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