Apple’s $850 million solar plant investment rockets it to first place among U.S. corporations

“Apple over the next year or so is expected to surpass Walmart as the largest corporate user of solar power,” Lucas Mearian reports for Computerworld

“The company this week announced it will invest $850 million dollars to build a solar power plant through a partnership with First Solar, one of the nation’s largest photovoltaic (PV) manufacturers and provider of utility-scale PV plants,” Mearian reports. “Through a 25-year purchasing agreement, Apple will get 130MW (megawatts, or million watts) from the new plant.”

“The Apple/Solar City project ranks in the top 10 of U.S. PV installations. (In addition to Apple, PG&E will get 150MW from the plant),” Mearian reports. “Walmart has led corporate America in deploying PV panels. Almost all have been rooftop installations at store and corporate office locations. It has held the top spot for solar power capacity use for at least the past three years, according to Ken Johnson, vice president of communications with the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA). Apple is now on the cusp of taking that spot, Johnson said, leaping from fourth place behind Walmart, Kohl’s and Costco. (IKEA is fifth.)”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple to build new solar farm, and some greens hate it – February 11, 2015
Tim Cook: Apple to build $850 million solar farm; Apple Watch will surprise everyone – February 10, 2015

27 Comments

  1. I hope Apple looked at the true bottom line (total impact) and are not doing this because it will create the optics that they are responsible. I would like to see a comprehensive audit of this project to determine if it is a benefit or detriment to the environment.

        1. You seriously think their views or policies on Homosexuality was for “optic” thing? Wow!

          Is that bible and that moral compass getting a little heavy to carry these days. Let me know the kick-starter you’ve got for brick and mortar to close yourself in. I’ll be the first to send money.

          1. Apple’s objective could have been: respect and fairness for all peoples regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexual preference. The flavour of the decade seems to focus on sexual preference.

            1. One flavor of many related ones – all associated with misunderstanding, suspicion, intolerance, and ingrained dogma. Blaming Apple because it is currently focusing on one or two pieces of a much larger intolerance pie is ridiculous. In my opinion, Apple is a strong voice of reason and compassion in the corporate world.

    1. According to a CNBC report,:

      First Solar’s website says the project is “strategically located to minimize environmental impacts,” and an environmental impact report prepared by Monterey County government says “the project site does not consist of specifically sensitive or high quality native habitat.” It also appears that the site has been used as grazing land for livestock.

    2. Of course, we all know what environmentalists the Walmart clan can be, as evidenced by their investment in solar. They wouldn’t do this to save a few bucks! /s

      If this were a bad investment, I’m sure these penny pincher for personal gain plutocrats wouldn’t have spent a dime on it.

    3. Please keep an open mind. Bloomberg Business thinks what Apple just did in solar is a Really Big Deal: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-02-11/what-apple-just-did-in-solar-is-a-really-big-deal

      Bloomberg also gives 7 reasons cheap oil cannot stop renewables now: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-30/seven-reasons-cheap-oil-can-t-stop-renewables-now

      For die-hard, “muy macho”, fossil fuel exploitation zealots: just think of wind and solar energy sources as two more natural resources to be exploited! This mindset might ease your misgivings about supporting renewables. Yes — you can exploit them the same way we exploit fossil fuels. Except renewables won’t hurt people, change the atmosphere, ruin the oceans, and generally “tax” the planet’s ecosystem.

      In addition, I am in totally favor of supporting wind and solar energy to the same dollar amount per year of all the tax benefits that are currently given to fossil fuel extraction companies.

  2. Unfortunately, though it does please environmental advocates, this plant will cost more per unit of power than natural gas and will do greater harm to the environment. Besides those two minor points, it is a brilliant way to spend $1 billion, if you don’t mind wasting money.

    1. What are you talking about? On the one hand it pleases environmental advocates while on the other it will do greater harm to the environment than a natural gas power plant? Do you just make this stuff up as you go?

      1. I will type slow for you. It pleases environmental activists because they all love solar though it is not economical and does harm the environment as much or more than the alternatives. Their reasons are emotional not logical. People who make care about the rational management of money by the corporation they hold share in will be disappointed with this massive waste of money.

    2. I’d like to see a tally sheet of environmental harm from both alternatives. My perspective on fracking for natural gas is that it couldn’t be a more stupid idea. It’s just another case of (as seen below) Short Term Thinking, Long Term Disaster, where the disaster is permanent ruination of ground water via a variety of bad ideas built into fracking systems. I could not be more pleased that my state of New York has BANNED fracking. We lead in wisdom on this issue. (No I won’t be drawn into a word war on the issue). We saw through the bombardment of propaganda to the contrary.

      As to what sort of environment is going to develop under all the solar collectors, that’s going to be interesting. I suspect the fungi are going to be extremely happy, at least in the short term. In the long term: Top soil runoff and eventual desertification I suspect. Which of course makes we wonder why we aren’t devoting already desert land for these purposes. It does seem a bit obvious, eh?

      1. Do people realize how big these panels are and the amount space in between the rows – you can drive a car between them. Enough light and air get under for any number of grasses to grow and animals to forage and graze.

        In fact, Apple allows sheep to graze in part of their solar farm in Maiden, NC to keep the grass at a manageable level.

        1. A lot of solar panels are being put on the roofs of large buildings. Others are being built over parking lots. And some people are working on a design for solar cells to be embedded in roads.

        1. More made up crap from kent. How the heck do you know that “zero harm” has been done over decades? You are a either a tool with no conscience or just clueless and deluded. Which one is it, kent?

        2. Rubbish. Clearly YOU are invested in fracking. What’s vital is getting off the carbon fuels and getting on sustainability. There’s nothing sustainable about destroying my state’s ground water. And yes, I know EXACTLY how it would happen. And it’s not just one way.

          Benzene in your tea anyone?

          But back to Apple…

  3. I can understand left-right politics, conservatism-liberalism etc. But some opinions are just so dumb that sticking to them just shows up bull-headed ignorance and/or stubbornness (unless you are getting some material benefit from doing so).

    You don’t need science to prove that the stuff that a car’s tailpipe spews out is really bad s**t. So how can there be any doubt for someone with common sense that billions of tailpipes, industrial chimneys etc. belching out billions of units of the same s**t non-stop 24/7 around the globe is really bad for the atmosphere?

    Kudos to Apple. It’s not just their products and unparalleled success which make them an object of admiration. It’s things like this project, as well as their policy to not nickel-and-dime their customers to death.

    1. Sucking up money out of abusing customers and planet Earth, our only home, has NOTHING to do with making sense. It’s ALL about making cents. Finance is a game we humans have place on top of the basic human behavior of sharing. That game manages to blind we humans to the entire point of sharing, that being SURVIVAL. Instead, the game drives us relentlessly into:

      Short Term Thinking, Long Term Disaster.

      The ultimate disaster of course is NON-SURVIVAL, aka our specie’s suicide by way of avoiding making sense, instead of cents.

      This prime problem of mankind isn’t going away, sad to say. This prime problem isn’t driving the stupidity of just the ReTardlicans/Conservatives/Neo-Conservatives/Tard Party. It obviously obliterates the common sense of the DemoCraps as well. Both parties have clearly got some useful sense of what’s important, but those insights get drowned out by mass shouting of NON-sense.

      I often point out that going ‘green’ doesn’t consistently mean becoming sensical either. They have their own game playing and blind alleys of rectal viewing.

      As ever: People are a problem.

      1. Yup. I predict that one day, humans will be united in trying to save the environment – but that day will only come when an environmental disaster of such huge proportions occurs that humanity feels what is undoubtedly Nature’s finger right up their you-know-where.

    2. Agree, Gwailo. And CO2 is one of the things spewed from a car’s tailpipe. Here is a quantification of how much.

      A gallon of gas weighs about 6 pounds. But burning a gallon of gas produces 19 pounds of CO2. Don’t take my word for it; verify for yourself. It is basic chemistry.

      1 carbon molecule (from gas) is combined with 2 oxygen molecules (from the air) to produce CO2. Remember the periodic table of elements from high school chemistry? The elements are arrayed from lightest to heaviest. Carbon is #6 and oxygen is #8. They weigh _about_ the same. So we produce a little over 3X the weight of a gallon of gas as CO2 when we burn a gallon of gas.

      A car with a 20 gallon gas tank therefore produces 380 pounds of CO2 every tank fill up. Driving an average of 14,000 miles per year means a car with 20 MPG will burn 700 gallons of gas, producing 13,300 pounds of CO2.

      And that, folks, is why we are cooking the planet. Because it turns out that CO2 is a greenhouse gas — it absorbs heat. Do a web search if you do not know what this means. Plus, don’t forget there are other emission besides CO2.

      People who want to do something about it should do everything they can to reduce their carbon footprint. As for driving, they should drive efficiently, and buy a car that gets at least 30 MPG. Of course, higher MPG is always better.

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