First Solar to build $850 million plant for Apple

Industry's Largest Commercial Power Deal

To power its new headquarters and other operations in California, computer giant Apple Inc. (Cupertino, CA) is turning to an $850 million solar farm on 2,900 acres of land in Monterey County that will be built by First Solar Inc. (Tempe, AZ). Announcing the project at an investment conference on February 10 in San Francisco, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that his company has struck a deal with First Solar to take delivery of 130 megawatts (MW) of the output of the 280 MW plant over the next 25 years—enough to power the new headquarters that Apple is building in Cupertino and “every other office we have in California.” Those operations include 52 retail stores and a data center. 

"Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy," said Joe Kishkill, Chief Commercial Officer for First Solar. "Apple's commitment was instrumental in making this project possible and will significantly increase the supply of solar power in California. Over time, the renewable energy from California Flats will provide cost savings over alternative sources of energy as well as substantially lower environmental impact."

“We expect to have a very significant savings because we have a fixed price for the renewable energy, and there’s quite a difference between that price and the price of brown energy,” Cook said. He added, “we know in Apple that climate change is real. The time for talk has passed.”

First Solar will sell the power that Apple isn’t purchasing to Pacific Gas & Electric. Construction of the solar plant is expected to begin later this year and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2016.