The Stack Archive

Apple in massive solar energy deal to power data centres and new campus

Wed 11 Feb 2015

Apple CEO Tim Cooke has said that the company will settle a partnership with First Solar to design and build a huge solar energy farm to power its retail, corporate and data centre estate in California.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, Cook announced that the farm will provide a renewable energy source for its offices, 52 Apple stores, its Californian data centre, as well as its new buildings at the ‘Spaceship’, Apple Campus 2.

“The time for talk has passed and the time for action is now,” said Cook referring to the urgency of climate change. The deal with First Solar is a 25-year purchase agreement – reportedly its largest green energy contract with a US commercial firm.

According to Cook, Apple will buy about $850mn (approx. £560mn) of power from First Solar with a fixed energy price which will result in “significant savings” for the record-setting tech giant.

“We’re doing this because it’s right to do […] But you may also be interested to know that it’s good financially to do it,” added Cook.

The iPhone maker will receive 130 megawatts from 1,300 acres of the solar panel farm, of its total 2,900 acre span. The remaining 150 megawatts will go to Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Apple will not hold an equity stake in the farm and will pay by instalment over the 25 years rather than upfront, confirmed First Solar spokesperson Steve Krum.

Apple is famously big on green, with its data centres already running on clean energy and its Campus 2 to be completely powered by renewable sources. A similar solar initiative is also planned for its Arizona data facility. The company currently prides itself on being the “the only company in our industry whose data centers are powered by 100% renewable energy.”

Construction on the Monterey County solar farm is expected to start later this year and is set for completion by the end of next year.


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