Apple’s secret solar plant in Arizona could supply 12,500 homes with power

“Apple Inc. has built a 300-acre solar power plant in Florence to make up for the electricity used in its Mesa data center, and Salt River Project finally released details of the secretive project Tuesday,” Ryan Randazzo reports for The Arizona Republic. “Power from the solar plant won’t go directly to Apple’s facility in Mesa, but the amount of power is meant to compensate for the power used there.”

“SRP’s elected officials have met several times in the past year in executive session to discuss the project, but have not been able to release details until now, following an Apple executive’s remarks on the project Monday at a conference in New York,” Randazzo reports. “The Bonnybrooke solar plant has a capacity of 50 megawatts. That amount of capacity could supply about 12,500 homes at once, when the sun is shining on the solar panels.”

“SRP’s board members voted recently to purchase the power from the Bonnybrooke plant, but at an undisclosed price. That will help Apple reduce its utility expenses,” Randazzo reports. “When SRP announced a similar deal with the Sandstone Solar Plant near Florence, SRP disclosed the price for the electricity would be 5.3 cents per kilowatt-hour… If SRP is paying the same 5.3 cents per kilowatt-hour as the Sandstone project, it will cost SRP about $8 million a year, or $160 million for a 20-year contract.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Smart business on Apple’s part, at least.

Apple Energy gets federal approval to sell power – August 4, 2016
Apple Energy: The implications are mind-boggling – June 16, 2016
Apple Energy: Is this Apple running its own microgrids or more? – June 10, 2016
Apple Inc. forms Apple Energy company; looks to sell electricity into grid and perhaps directly to consumers – June 9, 2016
Apple did not ask for incentives for new $2 billion data center in Mesa, Arizona – February 2, 2015


  1. When will the press get it? Apple is an energy company. They have invested in infrastructure and will make back much in savings to their operations and that infrastructure. This is alternative energy, carbon trading , etc. Since the future of the end of fossil fuels is inevitable, then these “alternative” energy companies will become mainstream, Apple has started their transition to be a leader in this movement.

  2. No no no!!! This is all o’bummer’s fault!! Now Apple will go broke like that solyndra company! All good republicans know that the only good energy is that black carbon based, polluting stuff that comes out of the ground and provides decent hard working Americans jobs that will kill the the workers and causes so much pollution that it stops the rest of us getting sunburnt. And the miners that don’t die get horrible diseases that needs an army of doctors, etc. And that also keeps unemployment down! It’s a win-win. This is a horrible idea for Apple. Fire Cook immediately. Make America great again!

  3. What in the hell does “it will cost SRP $160 million for the 20 year contract” come from? SRP has a source of 50 Megawatts of power for the next 20years that they will buy for 5.3¢ each and resell for as much as they can get from the regular rate payers while charging Apple retail for the power they actually use. It costs them nothing, but guarantees low cost new capacity that they don’t have to actually generate. It’s a gift from Apple.

  4. Some stuff I recently discussed with a local solar farm installation rep:

    1) Power companies in general haven’t sorted out how to handle the daylight-only generation of solar farms. The goal is to create storage facilities where the energy collects and is then provided after sundown. This would prevent the dropout of solar farms and the need to connect another energy source into the grid.

    The best example of this being a problem that I’ve run across is Hawaii. Energy prices are very high there, being a set of islands without many native sources of energy. Therefore, many people have installed solar panels. But the energy company, whether intentionally or techno-ignorantly, don’t know what to do with them all and won’t let them all into the grid. This means the investment in solar panels isn’t (yet) paying off. Setting up a storage system would solve Hawaii’s problem.

    2) So what’s around that can be used for energy storage?
    – a) Using hydrogen generation for later use in hydrogen fuel cells is remarkably easy at this point. The big danger of course is that hydrogen is highly explosive when in the presence of oxygen at an adequate detonation pressure and temperature.
    – b) Lead acid batteries are commonly used for this purpose on small scales.
    – c) Lithium battery storage solution exist but are still extremely expensive. Example: The Tesla PowerWall. They cost somewhere around $50,000 each with installation costs included.

    3) The ideal is for each solar farm, whether individual or group, to have its own storage system for when the grid doesn’t want their power as well as use as a power source at night, rather than depending upon the grid.

    The general message is that solar systems are evolving. Different US states have different incentives, if any. In New York we have guaranteed credit for all energy generated by one’s owned solar panels, home or farm, for a period of (I believe) five years after installation and connection. That’s an excellent deal while the grid power companies get their acts together.

    1. 300 acres is about 0.5 sq mile (0.7mi x 0.7mi). That’s quite a lot of space, especially if you are a land restricted location like Hawaii.
      Personally I think that roofs are a prefect place for solar panels. Maybe not as efficient as a solar farm but essentially free space and generally shade free.
      I like the hydrogen generation idea since it is pollution free (at least in the base ingredient and products). Safety concerns should be easy enough to control.
      As far as how to handle supply and demand, power companies will have to adapt generation once solar energy becomes a major provider.

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