Apple’s new solar farm is a really big deal

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Apple's new solar farm breaks the record for non-utility company. Photo: Apple
Apple's new solar farm breaks the record for non-utility company. Photo: Apple

Tim Cook made a big stand for climate change yesterday by announcing Apple’s plan to invest $850 million in a solar farm that will power the company’s Cupertino campus as well as all retail operations in California.

“We know at Apple that climate change is real,” Cook said yesterday. “Our view is that the time for talk is past and the time for action is now.”

Apple has already put its money where its mouth is by powering all data centers with renewable energy, but the Monterey solar farm is the biggest thing Apple’s ever done in renewable energy, and breaks the record as the biggest-ever solar procurement deal for a company that’s isn’t a utility.

The solar farm is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 — just in time to use a 30 percent U.S. tax credit. Energy analysts at Bloomberg have calculated that once completed, the 1,300 acre solar farm will triple Apple’s stake in solar power over night.

“The investment amount is enormous,” says Michel Di Capua, head of North American research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “This is a really big deal.”

The project will be located at First Solar’s California Flat solar project in Monterey County. Apple will get 130 megawatts of power from the farm through the duration of its contract, which lasts through 2041. Other tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have invested in wind energy, but Apple’s solar investment could pay off big over the long run.

Experts estimate that solar energy will the world’s single biggest energy source by 2050. Wind energy has been cheaper solar for a long time, but solar’s price is now declining faster than wind. Apple’s deal is the first of its kind for solar and could help speed up the price decline as most corporations look into investing in solar farms of their own. You know Samsung’s minions are already hatching a plan to copy it somehow.

Source: Bloomberg