First Solar

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that Apple will build a massive solar farm in Monterey County, south of San Francisco. The 1,300-acre, $850 million project will provide enough power for all of Apple's operations in California, including its fancy new headquarters in Cupertino and all its retail stores.

He divulged the new plan at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco today.

Based on the size of previous Apple projects, the new site could provide 250-300 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power something like 60,000 homes.

Apple is serious about environmental initiatives, especially solar power. The company hired Lisa Jackson, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, in May of 2013. And Apple has invested in multiple solar plants to power data center operations in North Carolina and Arizona.

First Solar, a major publicly traded firm, will co-develop the project with Apple. "We are doing this because it's right to do, but you may also be interested to know that it's good financially to do it," Cook reportedly said. "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."


First Solar has manufactured and installed 10 gigawatts of solar power capacity across the globe.

This will make Apple effectively solar powered in California, but the company's outsourced manufacturing operations in China will continue to rely on that country's very dirty and carbon-heavy energy mix.