Friday, February 13, 2015

Apple's Strikes Biggest Solar Power Deal

Apple In Partnership with Arizona Based – First Solar Inc. 

Apple – the Computer giant has recently signed a 25 year power purchase agreement for 130 MW in partnership with Arizona based, First Solar’s 280MW California flats solar project. As part of the deal, Apple would be getting electricity from the farm at a fixed rate for twenty five years. It is said that the green energy will be purchased from First Solar Inc. through an $848 million deal which seems to be the largest agreement in the industry to provide clean energy to commercial end user, till date.

Apple’s landmark solar power deal seems to be a long term sustainable energy solution which would be generating enough power that will be necessary for all of the company’s California operation which includes the upcoming `spaceship’ Campus 2, by the end of 2016, as announced by CEO Tim Cook recently.California flats of 2900 acre will cover 3% of property owned by Hearst Corporation in Cholame, Monterey County and the construction of the same is expected to begin mid-year, to be completed by 2016 end. The rest of the 150MW of the project would be sold to Pacific Gas & electric with a separate long term PPA and the project is subscribed fully between Apple and PG&E PPAs.

Apple Leading the Way …

Joe Kishkill, First Solar chief commercial officer informed that `Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100% clean, renewable energy’. He added further saying that `Apple’s commitment was instrumental in making this project possible and will significantly increase the supply of solar power in California. Over a period of time, the renewable energy from California flats will provide cost savings over alternative sources of energy as well as substantially lower environmental impact’.

The California Flats were unanimously approved by the Monterey County Planning Commission in January who sent the project to the Monterey County Board of supervisors who will consider the final approval shortly. At the time of the announcement it was mistakenly stated by Cook that Apple would be building the facility but he quickly corrected it and called it a partnership and that it is First Solar and not Apple that will build the new plant. The solar plant in total will output 280MW of electricity, 130MW of which will be bought by Apple.

Financially Sound – Significant Savings

Cook had stated that Apple would be buying sufficient electricity to power almost 60,000 California homes which would be enough to offset the electricity used by Apple’s forthcoming Campus 2 together with all fifty two Apple retail stores in the Golden State with its data centre in Newark.He has also been transparent that the climate change was a serious issue for him and the company which is the reason for taking the lead on renewable as well as sustainable energy. He also brought it to the notice of the investor that the agreement will be financially sound since the $848 million deal would be the outcome of `very significant savings’ on the cost of energy.

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