Apple enters power sales market - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Procurement, Utilities, Commercial, Industrial, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  September 23, 2016

Apple will sell solar power to public Arizona utility

Photo of Apple's solar array in Arizona courtesy of Salt River Project. 

Apple Inc. has inked a deal with a public utility in Arizona to sell power from its new, 50-MW solar facility in Arizona. 

Under a 25-year power purchase agreement with Salt River Project, Apple will sell power to the utility from its Bonnybrooke photovoltaic solar plant at wholesale market rates, according to a Sept. 21 news release from the utility. The solar facility is located in Pinal County, Ariz., just east of Apple's data command center in Mesa. 

The news reaffirms Apple's new position as a power provider following Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approval in August of the technology giant's application to sell electricity at wholesale market rates. Apple has been working for some time to power its global operations with 100% renewable energy, and recently signed onto the RE100 initiative. 

Salt River Project, or SRP, is a community-based nonprofit public power utility that serves about 1 million customers in metropolitan Phoenix. The utility had worked with Apple in 2014 to help the company locate its command center in the area, and later built an interconnection nearby that helped facilitate construction of the solar array.  

Apple has since completed construction of the data command center and is finalizing the commissioning of the large-scale solar array so that clean power can feed into SRP's grid that supports Apple, according to the news release. 

"SRP is committed to working with our customers like Apple to meet their energy needs with the accelerated development of renewable resources, such as solar and geothermal, without increasing costs to our other customers," SRP General Manager and CEO Mark Bonsall said in the news release. "This opportunity is not only economical, but a powerful demonstration of how SRP can be a catalyst for economic development in the Valley."

By purchasing the output of the Bonnybrooke plant, SRP says it will reduce the carbon footprint of the fossil fuel resources that serve its customers. Apple will retain all of the environmental attributes generated from the solar plant, according to the release. 

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