Apple to increase investment in China’s solar power

The iPhone designer wants its Chinese manufacturers to reduce carbon footprint and green its supply chain.

US tech giant Apple said it will build more than 200 megawatts (MW) of solar projects in the northern, eastern and southern grid regions of China.

The new energy projects aim to provide enough energy to power more than 265,000 Chinese households in a year and offset the energy used in Apple’s supply chain. It is expected to avoid over 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution in the country between now and 2020, equivalent to taking nearly 4 million passenger vehicles off the road for one year.

The US firm now has 334 suppliers in China, and 72 percent of its carbon emissions come from its supply chain.

“Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and the time for action is now,” said Apple chief executive Tim Cook. “We hope that many other suppliers, partners and other companies join us in this important effort.”

Launching a new initiative to drive its manufacturing partners to operate in a greener manner, the firm hopes to share best practices in developing clean energy projects and partner with suppliers in China to install more than 2 gigawatts (GW) of new clean energy in the coming years.

Foxconn Technology Group (Foxconn), Apple’s major supplier, plans to construct 400 MW of solar, starting in Henan Province, by 2018. The company has committed to generate as much clean energy as its Zhengzhou factory in Henan Province consumes in final production of iPhones.

“I hope that this renewable energy project will serve as a catalyst for continued efforts to promote a greener ecosystem in our industry and beyond,” said Terry Gou, founder and chief executive of Foxconn.

Apple also said two previously announced solar farms in Sichuan Province are now completed to produce a combined 40 MW of power. The solar installations produce more than the total amount of electricity used by Apple’s 19 offices and 24 retail stores in China, making Apple’s operations “carbon neutral” in China.

Today, the company is powering 100 percent of its operations in China and the US, and more than 87 percent of its worldwide operations, with renewable energy, Apple said.