Apple strikes largest ever commercial solar deal with First Solar

Dive Brief:

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday that his company has committed to buy 130 MW of solar energy under a purchase agreement (PPA) with First Solar. The companies say the deal is the largest commercial solar power agreement in history.
  • Apple will spend $848 million over 25 years on the PPA. Cook told the Goldman Sachs Tech and Internet Conference that the electricity supplied would be enough to power all of the company's California operations.
  • The solar energy will come from First Solar's proposed California Flats Solar Project, which is slated to produce 280 MW of power. Pacific Gas & Electric will buy the remaining 150 MW. 

Dive Insight:

Apple's announcement with First Solar represents a major step toward its 100% renewable energy goal, CEO Tim Cook told a tech conference Tuesday. The 130 MW, he said, would be enough to power Apple's new campus in California, all it's other offices, all 52 retail stores in the state, and its data center there, GigaOm reports.

Cook said the deal "makes business sense" for Apple, but pricing details other than the headline number are scarce. The companies did not release how much Apple would pay per kilowatt hour under the PPA. 

The deal pushed Apple's market value over $700 billion for the first time ever, but there could still be roadblocks. The solar farm that would supply all this energy, for instance, has been approved by the Monterey County Planning Commission, but still must get the nod from the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.

Construction on the solar farm, barring unforeseen issues, is slated to begin in mid-2015 and be completed by the end of 2016.

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Filed Under: Solar & Renewables Corporate News
Top image credit: Flickr; Roger Schultz