Apple partners with SunPower to build twin 20-megawatt solar plants in China

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2015
Apple is set to expand its global investment in alternative energy sources with the construction of two new solar energy sites in mainland China, which when combined will provide up to 80 million kilowatt-hours of power each year.


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


The new facilities will be constructed in China's southwestern Sichuan province, within Hongyuan and Ruoergai counties in the Aba Tibetan & Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. They will be co-owned by Apple and Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development Co., a joint venture between SunPower and a consortium of Chinese firms.

SunPower's "light-on-land" design will be used in the solar plants' construction, meaning that farmers can continue to use the land as a pasture even after equipment has been installed. Apple and SunPower have worked together on similar projects in the past, including the solar installation at Apple's Maiden datacenter in North Carolina.

"This is a tremendous groundbreaking collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of experienced partners from different parts of the globe to build renewable solar energy ventures that contribute to the local economy and the environment. Our unique, existing partnerships in China allowed for these projects to come to fruition quickly," SunPower CEO Tom Werner said in a release. "These projects will provide clean, renewable energy, help address climate change, and continue to provide agricultural benefits to the local farmers, while protecting the area's precious land. We continue to value our partnership with Apple and commend them for their global environmental commitment."

Construction on both facilities is now underway, with the Hongyuan location already producing 2 megawatts. Both projects are expected to be complete by the end of this year.

This marks Thursday's second ecologically-related announcement from Apple, after the company revealed that it has purchased 36,000 acres of U.S. forest land to create sustainable sources for product packaging material.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5

    Fabulous. Raising the cost for rivals...

     

    I hope we see a massive investment in this by Apple in China.

  • Reply 2 of 5
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,477member

    All well and good but is Apple getting any kind of recognition for their efforts? Greenpeace has been pretty quiet about Apple lately. They scream, holler, and string up huge banners when they have a beef with Apple but refuse to say anything nice for stuff like this. Not a word on the story about Apple partnering to buy 36,000 acres of threatened forest land for sustainable packaging materials.

     

    And are Dell, HP, Microsoft, Google being taken to task for their environmental sins? Not on your life. In the fast food industry McDonalds gets hammered daily because they are the biggest while Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box, and the others are basically ignored by activists. I guess other tech companies get passes because Apple is the most dominant tech company but hey, how about just one attaboy every once in a while? 

  • Reply 3 of 5
    nsgarvnsgarv Posts: 7member
    It should read "80 million kilowatt-hours of energy each year"

    KWh is energy. kW is power.
  • Reply 4 of 5
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    All well and good but is Apple getting any kind of recognition for their efforts? Greenpeace has been pretty quiet about Apple lately. They scream, holler, and string up huge banners when they have a beef with Apple but refuse to say anything nice for stuff like this. Not a word on the story about Apple partnering to buy 36,000 acres of threatened forest land for sustainable packaging materials.

     

    And are Dell, HP, Microsoft, Google being taken to task for their environmental sins? Not on your life. In the fast food industry McDonalds gets hammered daily because they are the biggest while Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., Wendy’s, Burger King, Jack in the Box, and the others are basically ignored by activists. I guess other tech companies get passes because Apple is the most dominant tech company but hey, how about just one attaboy every once in a while? 


     

    Greenpeace used to target Apple with criticisms, but that was mainly some years ago.  More lately, they seem to have been praising Apple quite a bit.

     

    Quote:


     

    February 10, 2015 - In response to an announcement from First Solar and Apple CEO Tim Cook that the company will pursue an $850 million solar power purchase agreement in California, Greenpeace Senior IT Sector Analyst Gary Cook said:

    "It's one thing to talk about being 100% renewably powered, but it's quite another thing to make good on that commitment with the incredible speed and integrity that Apple has shown in the past two years. Apple still has work to do to reduce its environmental footprint, but other Fortune 500 CEOs would be well served to make a study of Tim Cook, whose actions show that he intends to take Apple full-speed ahead toward renewable energy with the urgency that our climate crisis demands."



    http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/media-center/news-releases/Greenpeace-statement-on-Apple-California-solar-power-deal/

     

    Quote:


     Why Apple is Greenpeace's newest hero - Jun 29, 2007


     


    Greenpeace Features Apple as 'Green Energy Innovator' in New Report


     


     


    Environmental group praises company's efforts.

     

    Greenpeace has moved Apple out of its doghouse, praising the company for its efforts to remove toxic chemicals and for its recycling programme.



    ...



    Greenpeace cited Apple's policies towards PVC and Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) as a reason for the improved environmental assessment. It particularly praised the company's pledge to remove the substances from all of its products by 2008.



    The company also hailed Apple's goal to recycle 30 percent of its products by 2010 and the volume yielded by Apple's current recycling practices.


     

    Greenpeace are a reprehensible mob, IMO.

  • Reply 5 of 5
    "Apple partners with SunPower to build twin 20-megawatt solar plants in China"

    Ok....

    "which when combined will provide up to 80 million kilowatt-hours of power each year."

    Not physically possible.

    There are 8760 hours in a year.

    Half of that is night, leaving 4380.

    Some of that is sunrise and sunset, when the light has little energy. That removes about 1/5th of the daily energy. Now you're around 3504.

    And unless they have no clouds in China, that's another 1/3rd or so. Which brings us to ~2300 hours of sunlight a year.

    20 MW x 2300 hours = 46 million MW.

    So the article is bogus.

    But don't take my word for it, take the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's word for it. Type "pvwatts" into Google, select a site in China, and follow the prompts. They tell me China gets about 4.4 equivalent noontime hours a year using a single-axis tracker, and that a 20 MW site will produce 25 million MW a year. Apparently China is a lot cloudier than California.
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