Today (April 20) Apple introduced its annual sustainability report updating the company’s progress on its use of renewable energy, reduced water use and reduced toxins use in its equipment and more. The news comes ahead of Earth Day, which is being celebrated this Wednesday and just after the company announced a new, 40 megawatt solar project in China, which will use SunPower modules.
The company has made a drastic transition to renewable energy and energy efficiency in the past few years. “Since 2012, all our data centers have been powered by 100 percent renewable energy sources,” the company stated. That includes two 20 megawatt solar farms in North Carolina, another 17 megawatt plant there that should be completed this year, a 20 megawatt array in Reno, Nev. and a 70 megawatt solar array being built in Mesa, Ariz. The company also is using wind, microhydro and other forms of renewable energy in the U.S. and across the world.
“Our 40-megawatt solar project near Chengdu, designed to power our corporate offices and retail stores, is setting a precedent for large-scale renewable energy in China,” according to the sustainability report. “By showing that green energy is a viable option in China, we hope to set a clear path for the companies there that manufacture our products.” The company noted that 72 percent of its carbon footprint is now on the manufacturing side and it wants to see its suppliers adopt greener practices.
The announcement of the SunPower projects in China was welcomed by Greenpeace, which had sharply criticized Apple before it started adopting greener policies and practices. “Apple's announcement is a significant first step toward addressing its energy footprint in China, and sets an important precedent for other companies that have operations in China: they can take action to power their operations with renewable energy,” said Greenpeace USA Senior IT Sector Analyst Gary Cook.
The solar farms in China will use SunPower’s C7 trackers, which Apple is already using in Nevada. "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. Our unique, existing partnerships in China allowed for these projects to come to fruition quickly," said Tom Werner, president and CEO, SunPower. He aded that farmers will still be able to use the land the solar farms are being built on since the trackers take up less space than traditional solar panels.Tweet