How to Transition to Alternative Energy for Data Centers

2 Oct 2023 by Colocation

As the world becomes increasingly aware of the environmental impact of conventional power sources, the need for data centers to transition to alternative power sources has never been more urgent. Beyond reducing carbon footprints, adopting alternative power sources can provide numerous benefits to IT departments, including cost savings and increased reliability.  

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the technical and financial aspects involved in transitioning to alternative power sources and provide practical tips for IT departments to effectively make this shift. 

The Need for Alternative Power Sources  

Conventional power sources, such as fossil fuels, contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Colocation data centers, known for their energy-intensive operations, are major contributors to the carbon footprint. IT departments can help the environment by using different types of power sources. This helps to reduce the impact their operations have on nature. 

Using only regular energy sources can cause problems for colocation services. This might include costly energy prices or the power supply could be interrupted. Conventional power sources, such as fossil fuels, are subject to price fluctuations in the energy market. Changes in energy prices can cause data centers to have higher costs. This makes it difficult for them to plan and budget for energy bills. 

Reliance on conventional power sources also makes data center colocation vulnerable to potential disruptions in power supply. Natural disasters, political problems, or when things like the power grid fail can cause electricity to not work. This can make it difficult for people to access important data. 

To mitigate these risks, cloud based data centers are increasingly exploring alternative and renewable energy sources. Renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, offers a more stable and predictable pricing structure. Data centers can get energy from clean and safe sources. This way, they don't need to rely on regular power grids and won't be affected by changes in the energy market. 

Additionally, by adopting renewable energy solutions, colocation providers can contribute to reducing carbon emissions and promoting environmental sustainability, aligning with the growing global focus on green initiatives. Using renewable energy like solar and wind power can help data centers protect themselves from potential problems. It also shows that they are trying to help the environment by reducing climate change. 

Alternative power sources, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, offer a more stable and cost-effective long-term solution. Renewable energy sources like solar and wind will provide a steady supply of electricity. They can even produce more than you need, so you can sell the extra back to the power company. 

Effective Transition Strategies  

Conduct a Thorough Assessment 

Before starting the process of changing things, IT departments should take a look at how much energy they use, what kind of technology they have, and what resources are available. This assessment will help identify potential areas for improvement and determine the viability of different alternative power sources. 

Procure Necessary Hardware and Software  

Transitioning to alternative power sources requires investing in appropriate hardware and software. For example, solar panels or wind turbines need to be installed to harness renewable energy. Additionally, advanced power management software can optimize energy usage and maximize efficiency. 

Set up the Infrastructure  

Installing alternative power sources necessitates careful planning and coordination. IT departments should work closely with renewable energy experts and ensure compliance with local regulations. The infrastructure setup should consider factors such as available space, orientation, and backup power options to guarantee uninterrupted operations. 

Implement Maintenance and Optimization Protocols  

Once the alternative power sources are operational, regular maintenance and optimization are key to ensuring optimal performance. IT departments should establish maintenance protocols to monitor system health, detect potential issues in cloud services, and perform necessary repairs or upgrades. Additionally, continuous optimization efforts will help fine-tune energy consumption and maximize cost savings. 

Address Security Concerns 

Transitioning to alternative power sources introduces new security considerations. IT departments must evaluate and mitigate risks associated with cybersecurity threats and physical vulnerabilities. Implementing robust security measures, including firewalls, encryption, access controls, and surveillance systems, is crucial to safeguard data center operations. 

Troubleshooting and Resilience Planning 

Preparing for potential disruptions is essential in maintaining uninterrupted operations. IT departments should develop thorough troubleshooting procedures and resilience plans to address unforeseen challenges. Regularly testing backup power systems and conducting disaster recovery drills will help identify weaknesses and improve overall preparedness. 

Real World Examples 

Several companies have successfully implemented alternative power sources for their data centers, setting an inspiring example for others: 


With a strong commitment to sustainability, Google has invested heavily in renewable energy sources. They have achieved a significant milestone by powering their data centers with 100% renewable energy through a combination of solar and wind power. 


Apple's data centers are powered by a combination of solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. By adopting innovative technologies, they have reduced their carbon footprint and achieved a carbon-neutral status for their data centers. 


Microsoft has made significant strides in transitioning to alternative power sources, including the use of fuel cells and biogas. Their data centers are designed to prioritize energy efficiency and minimize environmental impact. 

Take Action and Share Your Experiences 

Transitioning to alternative power sources for data centers is a critical step towards sustainability and cost savings. Traditional data centers heavily rely on fossil fuel-based electricity, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental degradation.  

Data centers can help slow down climate change by using energy sources that never run out, like solar, wind and water. This will also make their impact on the environment much smaller. This transition not only helps in preserving the environment but also aligns with the global efforts to transition towards a cleaner and greener future. 

Alternative power sources offer substantial cost savings for colocation facilities. Renewable energy prices have been steadily declining over the years, making them more affordable and competitive compared to traditional energy sources. With the installation of solar panels or wind turbines, cloud data centers can generate their own clean energy, reducing their dependence on expensive grid electricity.  

Many governments and organizations provide incentives and tax credits for adopting renewable energy, further reducing the operational costs for data centers. Using other sources of energy, like solar or wind power, can help create a better future for the environment and save money in the long run. 

We encourage IT departments to embark on this journey and share their experiences with the broader community. By collaborating and exchanging insights, we can collectively drive change and build a greener future for the IT industry. 

Author Colocation provides consulting and engineering support around colocation and has developed a platform for Datacenter Colocation providers to compete for your business. It takes just 2-3 minutes to create and submit a customized colocation RFP that will automatically engage you and your business with the industry leading datacenter providers in the world. provides a platform to view and research all the datacenter locations and compare and analyze the different attributes of each datacenter. Check out our Colocation Marketplace to view pricing from top colocation providers.  


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