Apple Building $850 Million Solar Farm to Power Campus


Apple is a leader in technology, from Macbooks to iPhones and its upcoming smart watches. Now, it’s becoming a leader in solar energy among Fortune 500 companies.

CEO Timothy D. Cook told investors that Apple planned to build an $850 million solar farm to power its operations in Cupertino, California, along with other operations in the state.

Apple’s Solar Farm with First Solar

The California Flats solar project, where the solar farm will be located, is being built by First Solar in Cholame Valley within Monterey County. The county’s planning commissions approved the plan last month, and construction is said to be completed by the end of 2016. It’s the largest deal ever to provide clean energy to a commercial user, with enough capacity for 280 megawatts, of which Apple will use 130 MW per their lease. Over the next 25 years, Apply will buy solar power from First Solar at a fixed rate, purchasing enough solar to power around 50,000 homes. This agreement is part of what helps get that solar farm built and ready for construction.

“Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Joe Kishkill, Chief Commercial Officer for First Solar. “Apple’s commitment was instrumental in making this project possible and will significantly increase the supply of solar power in California. Over time, the renewable energy from California Flats will provide cost savings over alternative sources of energy as well as substantially lower environmental impact.”

Apple and Solar Energy

The company’s campuses in Austin, Texas and Sacramento, California have been powered by renewable energy for years, and in 2013, Apple transitioned completely to renewable energy to power its data center. This commitment to invest in a solar farm mirrors that desire to expand its renewable energy usage, but in a much bigger way.

The new farm will be enough to provide clean power for its new campus, along with its other offices and all 52 retail stores in the state of California, plus the state’s data center. There are also plans to use solar energy to power a command data center in Arizona, built in partnership with Salt River Project.

This long-term dedication to renewable energy sources proves once again how Apple is leading the way in terms of greener, cleaner technology for global companies. “We know at Apple that climate change is real,” Cook said. “The time for talk is past and the time for action is now.”

Image Credit: Andy on Flickr under a Creative Commons license

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