Apple Announces Plans for Solar Energy Projects in China

applesunpowerAs part of its global sustainability efforts, Apple is teaming up with solar panel maker SunPower to build two solar projects in the Sichuan province of China. Together, they’ll have a capacity of about 40 megawatts.

“This is a tremendous groundbreaking collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of experienced partners from different parts of the globe to build renewable solar energy ventures that contribute to the local economy and the environment,” Tom Werner, president and CEO of SunPower, said in an April 16 news release.

Apple has committed to being more green in all its efforts, and this year met a goal to power all its U.S. operations with renewable energy sources.

“It’s important to us to tackle climate change everywhere we are,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president for environmental initiatives, told the Associated Press. “When you talk about China, you’re talking about manufacturing partners. We’re looking to bring the same innovation there. This is the start.”

The projects in China are expected to produce up to 80 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, and should be completed in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to SunPower.

Jackson told the AP that the new projects will produce more energy than Apple’s 21 retail stores and 19 corporate offices in China and Hong Kong consume, but few other details have been provided.

When finished, the new solar projects will be co-owned by Apple and a joint SunPower venture called Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development Co Ltd.

Apple has previously worked with SunPower on six solar projects in the United States, located in California, Nevada and North Carolina.

In the U.S., homeowners are starting to become more informed as to the types of solar panels available to them and the financial viability of solar; few commercial ventures, however, have made efforts as large or as public as Apple’s to rely more fully on clean solar power.

“Apple’s investment in solar is another testament to the viability of the technology as a primary source of power,” said Paul McKnight, owner of EFS Energy. “Although I would hope that in the future, these projects will be done in the States to build our infrastructure.”

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