Apple Announces Major Solar Project

Multinational tech giant Apple has recently announced they have completed a major solar project in China, and already have plans for another.

A 40 megawatt solar PV farm constructed in Sichuan Province, China, is now completed and ready for operation.

Apple stated that it is set to produce 80 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy a year.

This is amount of energy is more than the total of electricity currently being used by the Apple retail stores and offices in China.

By using this solar farm to offset their energy usage, Apple’s operations in China will be carbon-neutral.

In addition to this solar project, Apple has stated they plan to manufacture 200 megawatts of solar energy projects within eastern, northern and southern China.

Apple partners pushed to use clean energy

They also have pledged to work together with local suppliers in order to source more renewable energy, both moves made to offset the energy used in their supply chain and to ‘green’ the company.

Apple has launched an initiative that plans to “drive its manufacturing partners to become more energy efficient and to use clean energy for their manufacturing operations”, as the company has past been criticised for their partners being heavy polluters.

A few years ago Apple was accused by Chinese environmental groups of ‘turning a blind eye’ to the practices of their suppliers, who were polluting the country will toxic gas and leaving behind heavy metal sludge.

Apple’s environment vice president Lisa Jackson stated that “These projects go beyond Apple’s operations in China to help our suppliers adopt clean renewable energy,”. 

Manufacturers will now be pushed to use solar, and they will aim for more than 2 gigawatts to be installed of renewable energy in the future.

The 200 megawatt solar projects will produce a level of energy equal to the usage of 265,000 homes in China each year.

One of the major Apple suppliers, Foxconn, stated that they will be building 400 megawatts of solar by 2018.

Their project will be starting in Henan province, and they aim to create the same amount of clean electricity as what their Zhengzhou factory uses in the final iPhone production.

Apple leading the way for other companies

Apple CEO Tim Cook stated “climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and the time for action is now,”.

“The transition to a new green economy requires innovation, ambition and purpose. We believe passionately in leaving the world better than we found it and hope that many other suppliers, partners and other companies join us in this important effort.”

It is clear that Apple are serious about renewable energy, as 100 per cent of their operations in the USA are powered by clean energy, as well as 100 per cent of their data centres.

In terms of their worldwide operations, more than 87 per cent is renewables powered.

Apple states that “it’s our responsibility to make sure that while creating beautiful products, we’re also caring for our beautiful planet.”

Greenpeace has said that Apple has taken a “major step forward” in terms of greening their supply chain, a group that had previous criticised the company for using fossil fuels.

“We hope that Samsung, Microsoft and other IT companies will follow their lead in manufacturing their cutting-edge devices with a 21st century energy supply,” said Greenpeace IT policy analyst Gary Cook.

According to Apple, over 20 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions will be avoided thanks to the programs in China over the next five years.

Photo courtesy of DigitalRalph

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