Apple Building Solar Projects in China

Apple seems to always be on the forefront of new technology. From its new watch to the latest upgrades on its phones, tablets, and laptops, Apple is leading in many ways in the tech sector. And now, it’s continuing to establish itself as a leader in solar power advocacy by looking to China to build solar plants.

Building Solar in China

The technology megalith is teaming up again with SunPower to build solar power in China. Although First Solar is the company in charge of developing its solar farm project in California, SunPower has built 90 MW of power for Apple in the U.S. alone, and Apple plans to build 40 megawatts (MW) of solar in the Sichuan Province.

Using photovoltaic arrays to produce electricity via solar cells, the SunPower system will run on a tracker following the movements of the sun to capture and maximize the most sunlight and solar energy. Apple hasn’t provided that much detail about its partnership with these Chinese projects, nor has SunPower, but it is known that Apple will co-own both solar projects with a SunPower venture called Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development Co.

Is Solar in China Best for Apple?

Forbes feels Apple going into China to build solar seems unusual because Apple isn’t investing in projects that directly benefit its operations. In other words, it’s not working on building solar for factories that produce iPads. However, Apple clearly cares about the environment and solar energy, and since most of its products are currently made in China through contract manufacturers, it makes sense for it to buy solar and take a chance on projects abroad.

Apple isn’t the only tech company to dive into renewables. Other tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have “opted for buying renewable energy to inject more low-carbon electricity” into local grids they use. But Apple is the one that seems to be making the biggest strides towards using solar to power its business. Meanwhile, rival solar power company SunEdison also plans to build gigawatts of solar power generation in China, proving that SunPower isn’t the only one paying attention to the potential the country has to offer.

So is China the next hot spot for solar power? Only time will tell whether the country — and companies who manufacture their products there — will embrace solar full-on. In the meantime, it’s clear that Apple is making bigger and bigger strides in solar, and we’re excited to see how they expand their tech empire through solar.

What do you think of Apple’s commitment to solar in China? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!


Image Credit: WiNG via Wikimedia under a Creative Commons license

  • by Nadia Osman
  • |
  • May 11, 2015

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