Apple launched its first major solar project in China, and the solar installations in Sichuan Province will generate more energy than needed to power all of Apple’s 19 corporate offices and 22 retail stores in the country.
Apple is partnering with Leshan Electric Power, Sichuan Development Holding, Tianjin Tsinlien Investment Holding, Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor and SunPower on the project, encompassing two 20-MW solar farms. Together the project will generate up to 80 million kWh per year.
When complete, the two projects will be co-owned by Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development, SunPower’s project development joint venture, and Apple.
The projects are currently being constructed, and the Hongyuan project already has 2 MW connected to the grid utilizing SunPower’s LCPV tracker. The technology combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto high efficiency SunPower Maxeon cells. Completion of the projects is expected in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The solar projects were carefully designed to minimize their ecological impact and protect the grasslands that support the yak population, which is important to the local economy. Today, 87 percent of Apple’s global operations run on renewable energy, and the Sichuan Province solar project will bring Apple closer to its commitment to power all its operations worldwide on 100 percent renewable energy.