Apple makes $850m solar energy commitment in California

Apple will use solar energy to power retail stores, datacentres and office spaces

Apple is continuing on its quest to embrace renewable sources of energy by announcing a $850 million investment in the development of a new Calfornia-based solar farm.

The tech giant has agreed to pay green energy experts First Solar, who will operate the site in California, as part of a 25-year power purchase agreement.

Apple CEO Tim Cook fleshed out details of the deal during a talk at the Goldman Sachs Technology Conference yesterday, revealing the solar energy will be used to power some of its retail sites and datacentres.

"We at Apple know climate change is real. The time for talk is past and the time for action is now," he said, according to a report on MacRumours.

"We're partnering with First Solar to build a new 1,300 acre solar farm in Monterey, California. Enough renewable energy for all of our Apple Campus 2, every other office we have in California, all 52 Apple retail stores in California, and our datacentre in Newark, California.

"It's the right thing to do both socially and financially," he added.

The solar farm's construction is due to start in the middle of this year, and is on course for completion before the end of 2016.

The deal has also been hailed as the largest of its kind to centre on the provision of clean energy to a commercial end user, and has won the backing of environmental campaigners Greenpeace.

Gary Cook, senior IT sector analyst at Greenpeace, said news of the deal further proves that Apple is certainly not all talk and no action when it comes to embracing renewable power.

"It's one thing to talk about being 100 per cent 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."

News of the deal coincides with the announcement that Apple's market value now stands at $711 billion, making it the first US company in history to achieve a market cap of more than $700 billion at close of trading on Wall Street.

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