Apple to buy $850M worth of energy from solar farm in Monterey County, Calif. in 'ambitious' deal [u

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2015
Calling it his company's "biggest, boldest and most ambitious project ever," Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed a massive new $850 million investment in a California solar farm -- one that will generate enough electricity to power virtually all of its operations in the Golden State.


Apple's Maiden, N.C. solar farm. | Source: Apple


Update: A previous version of this story incorrectly claimed that Apple would be building the farm itself. But as noted by Reuters, the company will instead buy $850 million worth of power from the First Solar plant. The story has been updated to reflect this. (Thanks to reader Jim Neal.)

The details were revealed by Cook on Tuesday during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. The CEO took the opportunity to reveal the new solar partnership, in which will buy enough power for nearly 60,000 California homes.

The 1,300-acre project investment is housed in Monterey County, Calif., which is located south of Apple's corporate headquarters in the city of Cupertino.

"We are doing this because it's right to do, but you may also be interested to know that it's good financially to do it," Cook told investors at the conference. "We expect to have a very significant savings, because we have a fixed price for the renewable energy, and there's quite a difference between that price and the price of brown energy."

The project, done in partnership with First Solar, will provide enough renewable energy into the grid to offset electricity used by Apple's new Campus 2 corporate headquarters, as well as all 52 Apple retail stores in California, all of its offices, and its data center in Newark, Calif.

Apple Cupertino Campus 2
Apple's new solar farm will power virtually all of its California operations, including Campus 2.


Cook stressed on Tuesday that at Apple, global warming is not considered a subject that's up for debate. For him and his company, climate change is real, and Apple will take steps to do the right thing for the environment.

Under the leadership of Cook, Apple has invested heavily in renewable, green energy, most notably to run its data centers that power iCloud, iTunes and other Internet-based services. In particular, Apple's Oregon facilities are powered by a hydroelectric plant and wind energy, its California data center uses wind energy, and its Nevada facility relies on solar and geothermal energy.

Apple is also the owner of the largest private solar facility in the country, which powers its Maiden, N.C., data center. And just last week, Apple announced it will build yet another solar farm in Arizona, where it plans to build a new "global command" data center.
«13456713

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 256
    Has there been major improvements in how effectively solar energy is harvested? What about costs of materials?

    Cook stressed on Tuesday that at Apple, global warming is not considered a subject that's up for debate

    Uh oh! I fear this thread is about to get trolled into oblivion but the FOX News watching, anti-technology, aluminium foil hat-wearing, conspiracy theorists.
  • Reply 2 of 256
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,173member
    Awesome. And for those loons that are against this kind of thing, "OH NO GREEN", you can rest assured that it makes sense financially too.
  • Reply 3 of 256
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,674member
    I'm all for green, but butchering all that land for solar panels is such a waste, and a shame. I'm in Monterey often and it breaks my heart to see this kind of destruction going on.

    I so hope fusion energy comes into play soon, or some modern-tech nuclear power. I'm gonna get flamed for it, but massive swaths of land for energy is not the way.

    Solar farms wastes land, Windmills kills thousands of birds a year, solar collectors fry birds in mid-air... there is a cost.

    Me no like this.
  • Reply 4 of 256
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member

    That is the way to go. Sell the power to Edison at a remote location on the grid and then buy it back at your locations in the city.

  • Reply 5 of 256
    sflocal wrote: »
    Solar farms wastes land, Windmills kills thousands of birds a year, solar collectors fry birds in mid-air... there is a cost.

    Me no like this.

    Everything has a cost, so what would you prefer on the production of electricity over solar and wind that has a lower impact on the environment as a whole? Turning people into batteries?
  • Reply 6 of 256

    I grew up in Monterey and I'm curious where they would place this site. Maybe around Paso Robles or Hunter Liggett maybe.

  • Reply 7 of 256
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,173member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post



    I'm all for green, but butchering all that land for solar panels is such a waste, and a shame. I'm in Monterey often and it breaks my heart to see this kind of destruction going on.

     

    I'm not all for "butchering land" but I fail to see what could be a better use of land than a solar farm that is continually generating energy from the sun. Residential? Commercial? Industrial? It just seems like a more efficient, beneficial, and cleaner use of land than almost everything else one can think of building. 

     

    Yes, maybe solar does fry a few birds a year. There is nothing in the world that has NO negative consequences, especially when it comes to energy generation. And from what I know, pretty much every other available feasible method has a much higher cost. 

  • Reply 8 of 256
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    The 1,300-acre project will be housed in Monterey County, Calif. ...

     

    Great!  Now Apple can run a solar powered electric Grand Prix at Laguna Seca.

    I can't wait!

  • Reply 9 of 256
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Has there been major improvements in how effectively solar energy is harvested? What about costs of materials?
    Uh oh! I fear this thread is about to get trolled into oblivion but the FOX News watching, anti-technology, aluminium foil hat-wearing, conspiracy theorists.

    Because you didn't start it first with childish baiting. :rolleyes:
  • Reply 10 of 256
    solipsismy wrote: »
    Has there been major improvements in how effectively solar energy is harvested? What about costs of materials?
    Uh oh! I fear this thread is about to get trolled into oblivion but the FOX News watching, anti-technology, aluminium foil hat-wearing, conspiracy theorists.

    God wants us to use petroleum. That's why He created dinosaurs 6000 years ago, so we could have crude oil.
  • Reply 11 of 256
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,607member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View PostHas there been major improvements in how effectively solar energy is harvested? What about costs of materials?

     

    I don't think solar energy is particularly efficient but the panels las for a very long time. Apple should pour some resources into the panels themselves and come up with solar panels that can cover all roof areas and tarmacced surfaces (replacing tarmac) on their properties.

     



    Uh oh! I fear this thread is about to get trolled into oblivion but the FOX News watching, anti-technology, aluminium foil hat-wearing, conspiracy theorists.

     

    I'll add the missing ingredient to get that one going : 'OBAMA'

  • Reply 12 of 256
    paxman wrote: »
    I don't think solar energy is particularly efficient but the panels las for a very long time. Apple should pour some resources into the panels themselves and come up with solar panels that can cover all roof areas and tarmacced surfaces (replacing tarmac) on their properties.

    With as much solar as they are creating I would think Apple could innovate in that area quite well as a private company with a high need and deep pockets.
  • Reply 13 of 256
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,607member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sflocal View Post



    I'm all for green, but butchering all that land for solar panels is such a waste, and a shame. I'm in Monterey often and it breaks my heart to see this kind of destruction going on.



    I so hope fusion energy comes into play soon, or some modern-tech nuclear power. I'm gonna get flamed for it, but massive swaths of land for energy is not the way.



    Solar farms wastes land, Windmills kills thousands of birds a year, solar collectors fry birds in mid-air... there is a cost.



    Me no like this.



    What about this for an option... http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtml ?

  • Reply 14 of 256
    dsddsd Posts: 184member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GilDaThrill View Post

     

    I grew up in Monterey and I'm curious where they would place this site. Maybe around Paso Robles or Hunter Liggett maybe.




    Greenfield :>}

  • Reply 15 of 256
    Smithsonian places the number of birds killed by windmills at around 350-450k; an unknown number of birds are killed at solar plants; several million are killed by flying into buildings, and about 3.7 BILLION by house cats. Maybe we should worry less about alternative energy and start worrying about making smaller buildings and keeping our cats in them!
  • Reply 16 of 256
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

     



    What about this for an option... http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtml ?




    I was going to mention that!!  I think that could be huge!! Not to mention a definitive boost to the infrastructure part of things.

  • Reply 17 of 256
    paxman wrote: »

    What about this for an option... http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtml ?

    That's neat, but for solar panels I don't think the technology is even on the cusp of making that a feasible solution for anything outside of private use with little to no traffic.

    For example, even with the traffic on a highway those panels are probably getting light a good part of the time, but what would be the average reduction over panels that had no obstructions between it and the sun? Will those panels last long enough before needing to be changed do to road wear? Would they have to be cleaned periodically? What is the cost? Are having so many smaller panels as effective as larger panels or is there a measured loss in efficiency? What about the reflectivity of those panels on drivers?

    It seems to me, it's a much less expensive endeavour to buy up cheap land. Even adding long strips of panels next to highways and in the intersection would work, providing the reflections aren't going to affect drivers.

    As for the lighted tiles, I don't see that as being even close to common in our lifetime.

    PS: What's stopping someone from using rectangle solar panels in their driveway at this point?
  • Reply 18 of 256
    Perhaps someone should hold a lottery for the date when this almost billion dollar investment is abandoned as a waste of money. My guess is ten years at the outside.

    With natural gas increasingly abundant and some predicting that oil will drop as low as $20 a barrel, perhaps we should call this Cook's Folly. When it comes to the environment, he seems to lack business sense. Squeezing to get a few pennies more profit out of Chinese suppliers and stealing business away from other Apple product retailers, but blowing huge sums of this bit of nonsense.

    * For those who don't know better. Think of a solar facility as a giant parking lot, in this case one covering over two square miles. That's what solar does to an otherwise natural environment. It creates a wasteland beneath. When this scheme is abandoned, the land beneath may take a century to recover.

    * Think of those giant windmills as oil derricks or a large refinery, but far higher and more numerous. That's what those windmills do to the natural air flow and migrating birds. They extract gigawatts out of nature, gigawatts that should be left undisturbed.

    Do you really think all that meddling with nature isn't going to disrupt our environment in unhealthy ways?
  • Reply 19 of 256
    Interesting that they went with First Solar instead of Elon Musk's Solar City. I think Elon Musk should be careful about bad mouthing Apple in the future.
  • Reply 20 of 256
    john12345 wrote: »
    Interesting that they went with First Solar instead of Elon Musk's Solar City. I think Elon Musk should be careful about bad mouthing Apple in the future.

    1) We have no evidence there choice had anything to do with something as petty as Musk shit talking.

    2) I would like to think Cook would go with whomever offered the best solution at the best price.
Sign In or Register to comment.