or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple working with US energy company on North Carolina solar farm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Apple working with US energy company on North Carolina solar farm

post #1 of 58
Thread Starter 
While companies from China dominate solar panel production, Apple has opted to partner with an American company to help build its forthcoming solar farm in North Carolina, AppleInsider has learned.

Leaf Solar Power, a renewable energy company based out of Lake Worth, Fla., is working with Apple on a new solar farm that will power its $1 billion data center, according to a person familiar with the ongoing project. Leaf Solar's involvement in Apple's North Carolina solar farm may be the the company's largest and most lucrative partnership yet, as Leaf's official LinkedIn page notes that it specializes in residential and "small" commercial projects in South Florida.

Last month, local permits revealed that Apple is planning to build a solar farm across from its massive data center in Maiden, N.C. Details for the project have not yet been revealed, as a permit obtained by Apple simply applies to erosion control.

More details on the solar farm will surface when Apple decides to formally apply for a building permit -- a process that could also expose the full extent of Leaf Solar's involvement in the project. When contacted by AppleInsider on Tuesday, a person representing Leaf Solar declined to comment.

The company is also said to have co-developed solar projects in Tennessee, and also allegedly received a request for proposal for a 17-megawatt solar farm in Arizona. The person said the company is also looking to open a 300-megawatt "world class manufacturing facility," but AppleInsider could not confirm the accuracy of these claims.

The move by Apple to conduct business with a U.S.-based solar company comes at a time when production of solar panels has been increasingly sent overseas. In particular, solar panel production has greatly shifted to China over the last two years.

China's dominance in the solar panel market has become such an issue that earlier this year, U.S. President Barack Obama signed a law with a "Buy American" provision for the purchase of solar panels by the Defense Department. The U.S. government hopes the American military's investment in renewable energy can be kept stateside, rather than sending money overseas for solar panels built in China.

The extent of Leaf Solar's involvement in Apple's North Carolina solar farm is not yet apparent, but the company's recently updated website does name "Solar Farms" under its list of products offered. A business description listed on Yelp also notes that Leaf Solar "specializes in solar power installation, including solar hot water heaters, solar pool heating, and solar electric energy."



Apple's massive data center in North Carolina was first announced in July of 2009. The $1 billion project eventually opened this spring to support Apple's online services, including iTunes and the newly launched iCloud.

Use of sustainable energy at facilities including data centers is not new for Apple. The company's website boasts that just 2 percent of its energy footprint comes from facilities, while its operations in Austin, Tex.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Cork, Ireland; use 100 percent renewable energy.



Apple's commitment to green energy has been well documented, but the company's partnerships with overseas companies, particularly for assembly of popular devices like the iPhone and iPad, have also generated negative publicity. In particular, Apple's relationship with Foxconn, which runs a number of massive assembly facilities in China, has come under fire on numerous occasions.

Every year Apple audits its overseas partners, and one report issued this February revealed that the company terminated business with a facility that employed 42 underage workers. The audit also uncovered one case of bribery, in which a facility manager offered cash to Apple's third-party auditors to reduce the number of audit filings, prompting Apple to cease business with the company.

Given the controversies that stem from Apple's partnerships with overseas companies, the company's believed decision to broker a deal with a U.S.-based renewable energy company, rather than outsourcing the work to China, could be viewed as significant. The apparent deal could also help to fuel investment in homegrown "green" energy solutions, bolstering America's role in the push for renewable power while creating sustainable jobs in the area.
post #2 of 58
Good Job Apple.
An Apple man since 1977
Reply
An Apple man since 1977
Reply
post #3 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

... its operations in Austin, Tex.; Sacramento, Calif.; and Cork, Ireland; use 100 percent renewable energy.

The one here is 100% powered by rain.
post #4 of 58
Good job Apple on using solar.

Good job Apple on not giving all the jobs and business to China.

Developments like this definitely make me more likely to remain a loyal Apple user. I imagine Jobs had a major role in these decisions
post #5 of 58
Perhaps Apple feels like putting a little money back into the US economy. They pay relatively little US taxes and keep Billions in overseas accounts. Cue the Occupy ... folks.
post #6 of 58
Great PR move. I like this plan, it may cost a little more to do business here, but we need the jobs.
post #7 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Radar View Post

Good job Apple on using solar.

Good job Apple on not giving all the jobs and business to China.

Developments like this definitely make me more likely to remain a loyal Apple user. I imagine Jobs had a major role in these decisions

I get the feeling Tim Cook lean towards alternative energy and home production.
post #8 of 58
I just read yesterday about Apple's fair paying of taxes in COM
http://www.cultofmac.com/128089/appl...-taxes-report/
So how do you claim Apple is not paying its fair share???? Got milk?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post

Perhaps Apple feels like putting a little money back into the US economy. They pay relatively little US taxes and keep Billions in overseas accounts. Cue the Occupy ... folks.
post #9 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Banalltv View Post

The one here is 100% powered by rain.

haha!

Send some of that to Texas.
post #10 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post

Perhaps Apple feels like putting a little money back into the US economy. They pay relatively little US taxes and keep Billions in overseas accounts. Cue the Occupy ... folks.

They are one of the very few which pay this amount of tax and I can't say for companies like google and MS.
post #11 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post

Perhaps Apple feels like putting a little money back into the US economy. They pay relatively little US taxes and keep Billions in overseas accounts. Cue the Occupy ... folks.

I believe the billions that they keep in overseas accounts are revenues that they made in other countries that they have not "repatriated." Apple is hoping for a tax deal in which they can bring that money to the US at a lower tax rate.

This is different than the practice of some other corporations of moving their headquarters to the Cayman islands (for example) and moving profits made in the US to tax free accounts there.
post #12 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I get the feeling Tim Cook lean towards alternative energy and home production.

Let's hope so; good job so far.
post #13 of 58
At least Apple is not partnering with Solyndra for their new solar farm.
post #14 of 58
The solar thermal unit pictured in the article is apparently made by SolarTron Energy Systems Inc. located in Canada. I was trying to find out how it converts thermal to electric power but it doesn't explain that part on the website

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

Reply
post #15 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by LizardLiquer View Post

I just read yesterday about Apple's fair paying of taxes in COM
http://www.cultofmac.com/128089/appl...-taxes-report/
So how do you claim Apple is not paying its fair share???? Got milk?

thanks for the link, which is quite interesting.

one of comments by "ochyming":

[
Apple manufactures in China because of Google and Microsoft.

Apple competes directly with the cartels that sell Google and Microsoft products. And those cartels make their products mainly in asian countries.

funny how people criticizes Apple because of FoxConn without asking WHY Apple is outsourcing.

Microsoft and Google biz model kills the innovation urge.
How many innovations DELL, Sony, or any other computer maker made compared with Apple in a decade regarding hardware, not to say OS?

-- They need NOT to, because being lazy suits them. So now most of them are struggling to make money. So they copy Apple research results in hardware.
]
post #16 of 58
What is impressive is how quietly Apple goes about this. No big press conferences, no collaborations with high-profile NGOs (e.g., the Clinton Foundation) to get the attention of the media, no big events in Washington D C to impress Congress etc.

Compare that to Google which made such a song and dance about the fact that it had finally done something as basic and obvious as carbon footprinting....http://www.guardian.co.uk/environmen...rbon-footprint. And that too, as late as just a couple of months ago! (Apple has been quietly undertaking carbon footprinting - and reporting the results on its website - for every single product in its portfolio across their entire life cycles, since 2009!).

That's class.
post #17 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

The solar thermal unit pictured in the article is apparently made by SolarTron Energy Systems Inc. located in Canada. I was trying to find out how it converts thermal to electric power but it doesn't explain that part on the website

It doesn't convert thermal to electric, that unit is for making Hot Water - Heating, not electricity generation.
post #18 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

At least Apple is not partnering with Solyndra for their new solar farm.

All the Solyndra hoopla aside, they actually made some pretty cool solar cells. Instead of the typical flat-panels one sees everywhere, theirs were more cylindrical which resulted in more sunlight being collected regardless of the position of the sun in the sky.

Unfortunately, that technology - like solar cells in general - was very expensive and Solyndra could not compete with the low-cost products coming out of China and elsewhere.

The political fallout that Solyndra caused is an entirely different matter for a different forum. I do hope the cylinder panels do get a second life somewhere.
post #19 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post

Unfortunately, that technology - like solar cells in general - was very expensive and Solyndra could not compete with the low-cost products coming out of China and elsewhere.

Yes, I remember reading about how they actually had a decent product, but that hardly matters of course, if it is way more costly than anything else.
post #20 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by AdamC View Post

They are one of the very few which pay this amount of tax and I can't say for companies like google and MS.

I don't know where you get your 31%, but based on their latest audited annual financials, here are the effective tax rates for some of the oft-discussed companies:

Google 21%
Apple 25%
IBM 25%
Amazon 24%
Microsoft 18%
EBay 14%

Contrary to what is popularly believed - and leaving aside stupid, apocryphal tales like that of a GE that paid zero in taxes (which was because it was carrying forward prior losses as allowed under the law) - many good, profitable companies in the US pay their 'fair share'. (Well, I guess EBay and Microsoft could cough up a bit more....)
post #21 of 58
Good for Apple. Good for the United States. Good for the U.S. solar industry. Screw China.
post #22 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenhawk View Post

Good for Apple. Good for the United States. Good for the U.S. solar industry. Screw China.

Good cheerleader, bad sport. A little geopolitical perspective please.
post #23 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solar Saves View Post

It doesn't convert thermal to electric, that unit is for making Hot Water - Heating, not electricity generation.

The SolarTron website does say that some sort of conversion from concentrated sunlight coming out of the dish to electricity is in the works:


Electricity: The SolarBeam stands out as the first ever solar concentrator to produce up to 3.5kW kW of electricity from a single system. Using the latest concentrated photovoltaic technology, the system will be able to produce 3.5kW on the concentrator surface that is 10”x10”. Seems unbelievable? No other solar hot water heater or thermal heater can match the SolarBeam.

But it's confusing, because they still seem to be talking about hot water. Bad tech writing, nothing new about that.
post #24 of 58
Further that is just the federal bill. The whole problem with the tax system in this country is that you end up paying so damn much for so little in return. The waste in social spending and pork is just incredible. I suspect people would be less resistant to the tax rates if the feeling of being ripped off didn't exist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I don't know where you get your 31%, but based on their latest audited annual financials, here are the effective tax rates for some of the oft-discussed companies:

Google 21%
Apple 25%
IBM 25%
Amazon 24%
Microsoft 18%
EBay 14%

Contrary to what is popularly believed - and leaving aside stupid, apocryphal tales like that of a GE that paid zero in taxes (which was because it was carrying forward prior losses as allowed under the law) - many good, profitable companies in the US pay their 'fair share'. (Well, I guess EBay and Microsoft could cough up a bit more....)
post #25 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by kenhawk View Post

Good for Apple. Good for the United States. Good for the U.S. solar industry. Screw China.

It's bad for Apple because they will be paying far more for an unreliable power source. It's bad for the US because the investment could be better used else where. Further the solar industry, especially the solar electric panel industry, is a house of cards; it is an industry that can not support itself.

As for China I'd rather see Aple do business there than in Europe or some of the other places in the world where the evils of the left have taken root.
post #26 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by tcphoto View Post

Perhaps Apple feels like putting a little money back into the US economy. They pay relatively little US taxes

Just normal corporate domestic tax rates. You don't have a problem with that, do you?

Quote:
and keep Billions in overseas accounts..

On which they pay taxes to the countries in question. You'd prefer they were double taxed on offshore income? Why do that, when they've got sizable foreign operations to run?
post #27 of 58
Could it be that Apple is investigating getting into solar power as another line of business? You don't build a manufacturing facility on a whim, you know.

I already suspect that Apple will use Siri to revolutionize (there's that word again) smart home systems, from there it's just a half step into home solar power generation.

I mean wow. Another source for start-up like growth figures for Apple.
post #28 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Could it be that Apple is investigating getting into solar power as another line of business? You don't build a manufacturing facility on a whim, you know.

I already suspect that Apple will use Siri to revolutionize (there's that word again) smart home systems, from there it's just a half step into home solar power generation.

I mean wow. Another source for start-up like growth figures for Apple.

Hmm They already design their own battery tech but they don't produce their batteries, as far as I can tell. I would think they would design their own panels but not build them if they were going to do anything in this energy field.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #29 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Could it be that Apple is investigating getting into solar power as another line of business? You don't build a manufacturing facility on a whim, you know.

I already suspect that Apple will use Siri to revolutionize (there's that word again) smart home systems, from there it's just a half step into home solar power generation.

I mean wow. Another source for start-up like growth figures for Apple.

This crossed my mind too. But where's the "great products for people" angle?

It would be great to have a well-designed sun-tracking dish for solar thermal/electric purposes for everybody's roof or yard. That stuff can even be made in the USA, where we still have aluminIum manufacturing.

Edit: I missed your point about Siri as a home controller. That's obviously a great product for people.
post #30 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

As for China I'd rather see Aple do business there than in Europe or some of the other places in the world where the evils of the left have taken root.

No derailing, please, this could be a good thread.
post #31 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Hmm… They already design their own battery tech but they don't produce their batteries, as far as I can tell. I would think they would design their own panels but not build them if they were going to do anything in this energy field.

Sorry, I wasn't clear, I was referring to the "300MW world-class manufacturing facility" that Leaf Solar is rumored to be building. Yes, it's not Apple as I first thought, but still that would be a tremendous commitment for Leaf and maybe the prospects of future partnership business with Apple makes the project less risky.
post #32 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

I get the feeling Tim Cook lean towards alternative energy and home production.

I hope so...I'm a huge apple fan and would consider myself pro-business...but when I look at the cheap goods from china in target and Walmart and then look at the sad souls working there I feel we've been sold a bill of goods allowing US businesses to move factories and jobs overseas.

It's like eating your leg for dinner...no future in it!
post #33 of 58
Bravo Apple, it's moves like this that will help our economy. Another smart move would be to bring all your overseas money home and pay whatever tax rate the government sets, you REALLY don't need any more money.

I've always been torn between wanting Apple to use their money to reduce product prices, but honestly I think that would just cheapen the brand and saturate demand, how about pumping that money into North America so that we can stop blaming our problems on the government and realize it's the corporations that aren't investing in their own home markets.
post #34 of 58
This whole story seems fishy to me. The company's website has almost no information on it.

In particular, they say nothing whatsoever about being a manufacturer of solar panels.

Note too that the story is based on something somebody said directly to Neil Hughes at AI, and that Leaf Solar Power has no news coverage whatsoever for anything they have ever done.

ISTM that some guy at Leaf is trying to set up a deal with Apple, and he's using AI to do it.
post #35 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I hope so...I'm a huge apple fan and would consider myself pro-business...but when I look at the cheap goods from china in target and Walmart and then look at the sad souls working there I feel we've been sold a bill of goods allowing US businesses to move factories and jobs overseas.

It's like eating your leg for dinner...no future in it!

Yeah - its a sorry state of affairs but I am not sure it has anything to do with China per se. If American companies had to produce their goods in the US you would still see plenty shoddy products and sad people working in horrible conditions. Just like crap can be produced anywhere, quality products can be produced anywhere.

If you were to move production of goods home and pay the workers the kind of money they could reasonably expect to live off and perhaps even buy a home and raise a family... well, you've gotta pay. In truth we are all complicit in a pretty horrible system which entirely relies on exploitation in order for us to live it up.
post #36 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

Yes, I remember reading about how they actually had a decent product, but that hardly matters of course, if it is way more costly than anything else.

Solyndra was doomed from the start. Making solar cells is an environmentally nasty product to begin with. Using US workers, making US wages, benefits, etc.. along with higher US taxes in general, and all other kinds of add ons with doing business in the US, there was no way Solyndra could compete with China due to their more lax environmental regulations (if they even have any), and super cheap human workforce. Just no way. Ethics and morals aside, Solyndra was a bankruptcy waiting to happen.
post #37 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Sorry, I wasn't clear, I was referring to the "300MW world-class manufacturing facility" that Leaf Solar is rumored to be building. Yes, it's not Apple as I first thought, but still that would be a tremendous commitment for Leaf and maybe the prospects of future partnership business with Apple makes the project less risky.

That would be interesting, especially if a company like Apple had a publicly stake in the company like it does with Imagination Tech.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #38 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by ConradJoe View Post

This whole story seems fishy to me.

The only thing that smells like (bad) fish around here are your posts.
post #39 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

.. when I look at the cheap goods from china in target and Walmart and then look at the sad souls working there ...

That is the most incredibly condescending thing I've heard here in a while.

"Cheap goods" = More consumer surplus for America's less well-off.

"Sad souls working there" = Better lives for the Chinese workers relative to the alternatives.
post #40 of 58
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

I hope so...I'm a huge apple fan and would consider myself pro-business...but when I look at the cheap goods from china in target and Walmart and then look at the sad souls working there I feel we've been sold a bill of goods allowing US businesses to move factories and jobs overseas.

It's like eating your leg for dinner...no future in it!

I don't think you know what you are talking about. A strong economy doesn't mean that the stupid disappear from the planet. This whole idea that the unfortunate would be any better off in a strong economy is BS.

Honestly do you think WalMart will go away in a strong economy? They existed long before the current downturn and will exist well after. What there is no future in is looking for excuses and place to put blame.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: General Discussion
AppleInsider › Forums › General › General Discussion › Apple working with US energy company on North Carolina solar farm