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Go green with carbon-free webhosting

Go green with carbon-free webhosting

Solar energy is the main power source behind Solar Host's servers.

Right now, going "green" is a major thing happening throughout the technology industries. From low power HDDs, bamboo monitors and wooden cases all the way to environmentally friendly laptops, it seems as if everyone out there is trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible. (Well, except for these guys.)

Heck, here at bit-tech we try to leave as little of a carbon footprint as possible even when dealing with the latest in bleeding edge technology. When he is not busy keeping the site up and running, Rich Taylor (RTT) is kept locked in a gigantic hamster wheel where he has to constantly run to keep the lights from going out and Joe Martin has even admitted to just how environmentally friendly he is over in the forums.

Normally we don't pimp many web services or the like, but when forum member Mother-Gooser pointed us towards his mate's carbon-free web hosting, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to let all you out there know about it.

Solar Host is a web hosting service that runs completely off solar power and even its datacentre is certified energy efficient. Not just carbon deals and energy rebates efficient - we mean totally solar. It even stores the juice in biodegradable batteries! And with prices ranging from £20 a year for an email only package to £95 a year for 2Gb of webspace, it's wallet-friendly too.

100 percent uptime and reliability are primary dedications for the company and its servers are powered by AMD Opterons; but other then that, we don't know many more details. Hopefully though, I'll soon have a chat with Tom Williamson, the owner and operator of Solar Host, and find out more about the hardware and power structure behind this carbon free web host.

Meanwhile, however, let us know if you'd be willing to migrate your site over to an eco-friendly web host in the comments below or over in the forums.

Do you need cheap hosting?

26 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
samkiller42 17th August 2007, 14:36 Quote
Nice idea, would be nice to see more things like this.

Sam
Mother-Goose 17th August 2007, 15:17 Quote
If anyone want's more information on it I've got a press release from Tom :)
Fruitloaf 17th August 2007, 15:30 Quote
Is that 100% uptime until it gets cloudy?
DXR_13KE 17th August 2007, 16:51 Quote
very interesting and cool..... lets see of they can survive.....
Mother-Goose 17th August 2007, 17:06 Quote
Fruitloaf, I'm just guessing here, but solar energy is from daylight rather than direct sunlight ;)
The_Pope 17th August 2007, 17:53 Quote
Correct - it's photon-based, so cloudy days merely equal diminished performance rather than no juice at all. Plus, that's what batteries are for!
LeMaltor 17th August 2007, 18:30 Quote
What building is this housed in? How was it built and by whom? Who works there now, how do they get to work? What do they eat, and where does it come from?
airchie 17th August 2007, 18:39 Quote
Sounds like a good idea to me, with only one snag (which I hope I'm wrong about).
I thought solar panels were so harmful to the environment during manufacture, you'd need to use them for longer than their servicable life to offset the damage caused by their production.
Maybe newer techniques have resolved this?
-EVRE- 17th August 2007, 19:42 Quote
.... I know how much solar power it takes to run a pair of wifi radios drawing about 5 watts total. At present a 25 watt panel has a little surplus power after a full sunny day. One cloudy day = about 4-8 sunny days of recovery for the batteries. This fall I am going to be investing in 75 more watts of solar at $5 a watt just to run 5 watts continuously.

If their web servers can be as efficient as my laptop at idle (20-30 watts) and only peak at 90 watts, my guess for one server the solar demand would be 800 watts solar per server.... or $4000 USD and thats without the cost of tracking mounts, charge regulators, inverters or batteries! A 5KW bank of batteries (*fuzzy memory on this, correct me if I'm wrong!) will cost about $10,000 USD and to spare your batteries an early death you should only use the top 75% of their capacity. Sooooo to run a small server farm will probably cost in the range of $100,000 +

kudos to that company for taking on such a financial burden to go green!

I wonder if they use any wind power...? would depend on how much wind they get annualy.
Lukily where I live I get a decent amount of wind. For my repeater station I'm also going to buy a 400 watt wind turbine to offset those long nights and cloudy days in the winter.
Mother-Goose 17th August 2007, 20:50 Quote
I have spoken to Tom and he told me this:

"we are equipt with 60 days worth of battery backup - yes we can run in the night time and winter! We have a backup generator that runs on propane gas. Propane gas is cleaner burning than diesel, which is found at most other hosting companies. Propane does not emit large amounts of carbon dioxide and produces no sulfur dioxide or particulates which is the primary causes of the greenhouse effect and acid rain. In fact, propane also meets the standards set by the federal Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) for reducing acid rain and controlling air pollution in urban areas. The CAAA heralds propane as one of the solutions to a cleaner, healthier environment. And since propane vaporizes rapidly, it won't contaminate soil or groundwater. The generator is for emergency use only and is tested weekly."
completemadness 17th August 2007, 21:11 Quote
Its a very nice idea, but i have to wonder how they get enough power from solar panels to power a data center, i mean were talking kilowatts here ....
"£95 a year for 2Gb of web space"

i know a host (that i usually use) that $6/mo ($60/year) for 200gb space, 2000gb bandwidth per month (inc unlimited email address and unlimited sql databases, users, etc etc)

Still if you want to do your bit for the environment, i guess if you want to pay the premium
hitman012 17th August 2007, 22:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Da Dego
If you're one of the environmentally conscience out there, then carbon-free webhost Solar Host might be to your liking.
Environmentally conscience?
Mother-Goose 18th August 2007, 13:48 Quote
I think the idea is that even though you are paying a bit more, you are doing your bit towards reducing CO2 emissions, there is always going to be a price for that. It's the same with cars, it costs more to start with, but when it's main stream and defacto it will be cheaper.
HandMadeAndroid 18th August 2007, 23:00 Quote
maybe if we all turned off ou
jezmck 18th August 2007, 23:42 Quote
Dreamhost went green 4 months ago.
http://blog.dreamhost.com/2007/04/20/were-green/
DougEdey 18th August 2007, 23:43 Quote
not really the same thing Jazzle. Dreamhost are buying out of it.
Alaskan Assassin 19th August 2007, 06:45 Quote
and if, during the inevitable machine uprising, the skies are permanently darkened, how will we get our data?
(I'm sorry, but I couldn't resist.)
jezmck 19th August 2007, 09:58 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
not really the same thing Jazzle. Dreamhost are buying out of it.
Oh I know that, but it's still a positive thing.
DougEdey 19th August 2007, 09:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzle
Oh I know that, but it's still a positive thing.

I don't agree with the whole carbon credits thing.

It becomes an extra income source for some companies and lets other companies get away with not reducing pollution even one iota.
identikit 19th August 2007, 15:45 Quote
I agree with Doug. Carbon credits = a bad thing.

completemadness: Have you approached these limits on your account? Because they're over-selling. You get what you pay for and with webhosts that's exactly right.
-EVRE- 19th August 2007, 21:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mother-Gooser
I have spoken to Tom and he told me this:

"we are equipt with 60 days worth of battery backup - yes we can run in the night time and winter! We have a backup generator that runs on propane gas. Propane gas is cleaner burning than diesel, which is found at most other hosting companies. Propane does not emit large amounts of carbon dioxide and produces no sulfur dioxide or particulates which is the primary causes of the greenhouse effect and acid rain. In fact, propane also meets the standards set by the federal Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) for reducing acid rain and controlling air pollution in urban areas. The CAAA heralds propane as one of the solutions to a cleaner, healthier environment. And since propane vaporizes rapidly, it won't contaminate soil or groundwater. The generator is for emergency use only and is tested weekly."

*sigh* that figure may be 60hrs.. not 60 days.
The_Beast 19th August 2007, 22:54 Quote
I think it's a good idea
completemadness 20th August 2007, 05:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by identikit
completemadness: Have you approached these limits on your account? Because they're over-selling. You get what you pay for and with webhosts that's exactly right.
well i cant say i have
but other people who use them definitely recommend them too, and IMO they are very good

Its pretty hard to upload 200GB of stuff and use 2000GB of bandwidth, Ive had about 50 SQL databases with them with no problems, and quite a few email accounts
They claim 99% up time, which is a little lower then "the best" (which usually quote 99.9%) but IMO still more then acceptable
jezmck 20th August 2007, 18:54 Quote
[OT]
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougEdey
...It becomes an extra income source for some companies and lets other companies get away with not reducing pollution even one iota.
all while not producing any extra CO2. ;)
Disclosure: I have a vested interest in Carbon trading being accepted, as I co-own Carbon360.
[/OT]
DougEdey 20th August 2007, 18:56 Quote
But forcing people to reduce carbon is a lot better. Trading carbon still allows the same amount to be produced.
jezmck 21st August 2007, 08:51 Quote
Allows, yes. But it does encourage reductions.
And it fact it must have, the price per tCO2 is now at its lowest ever at €0.08 when its high was €29.78!

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely support reductions, as much as possible, but it's very difficult for some companies to do so. Aluminium smelting for example produces huge amounts, and there's not much that can be done there.
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