Apple to build more than 2GW of renewables capacity in China

Apple has unveiled plans to build 200MW of solar projects in China, and has vowed to collaborate with its local suppliers to eventually install roughly 2GW of renewables capacity throughout the country.

As part of the announcement, which is aimed at reducing Apple's carbon footprint, Taiwan's Foxconn — a supplier of key components for the US company's iconic iPhones — plans to build 400MW of solar energy in Henan province by 2018.

“We are committed to investing in green manufacturing,” said Foxconn chief executive Terry Gou in an online statement.

The 2GW plan will also include wind and hydropower projects, Bloomberg said.

Separately, California-based Apple revealed plans to install 200MW of solar capacity throughout northern, eastern and southern China.

It said it expects those projects to annually generate enough electricity to supply power to 265,000 homes, without revealing additional details.

The US consumer electronics giant also said it has finished building 40MW of solar capacity in cooperation with SunPower at two sites in western China’s Sichuan province.

Apple claims that its Chinese operations are now carbon neutral, as the two low-concentrated PV (LCPV) projects — which use rows of parabolic mirrors on single-axis trackers to focus sunlight onto SunPower's high-efficiency Maxeon cells — are generating more than the amount of electricity consumed by its 19 offices and 24 retail outlets in the country.

SunPower and Apple jointly own the projects — situated in Sichuan's Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture — with local partner Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development.

The solar build-out is part of Apple’s broader plans to reduce the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by its production partners in China.

“Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and the time for action is now,” Apple chief executive Tim Cook said.

It has announced a new initiative to slash its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 million metric tonnes through 2020, which it claims is on par with removing four million cars from the road in a single year.

It also plans to advise its suppliers on regulatory matters and assist them with energy-efficiency audits.

Apple claims that its entire operations in China and the US are now powered by renewable energy.

It has aggressively invested in clean energy in recent years, including an $848m deal it announced in early 2015 to purchase 130MW of solar capacity from the 280MW California Flats project over the next 25 years.