Apple launches $300m fund to build 1GW of supply chain solar capacity

Tech giant Apple has announced that it has partnered with its key suppliers to jointly invest $300m (£228m) in solar power projects, as it strives to drive the uptake of renewable energy across its supply chains.

Apple claims that the funding, which will be allocated to solar projects in China over the next four years, will facilitate the installation of more than 1 GW of solar capacity.

The power produced by the arrays will be sold to Chinese firms operating in Apple’s supply chain, once the installations are complete, as the company strives to address the issues smaller companies often have in accessing alternative energy sources.

“At Apple, we are proud to join with companies that are stepping up to address the climate challenge,” Apple’s vice president of environmental, policy and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson, said.

“We’re thrilled so many of our suppliers are participating in the fund and hope this model can be replicated globally to help businesses of all sizes make a significant positive impact on our planet.”

Apple already has 25 renewable energy projects worldwide, totalling 626MW capacity, but the new solar arrays will see the company take a step towards its ongoing target of 1.4GW of capacity.

The investment to fund these additions, called the China Clean Energy Fund, will be managed by asset management firm DWS Group and will be awarded on a competitive basis.

Renewable shift

The launch of the fund comes after Apple announced earlier this year that it had started souring 100% renewable energy for all its global facilities.

Announcing the shift to renewables in April, Apple also confirmed that 23 suppliers have pledged to generate all of their production for the tech firm with 100% clean energy, including nine new manufacturers.

In another move to improve the sustainability of its supply chain, Apple last year launched a second dedicated funding stream to finance clean energy and environmental projects, through a $1bn green bond. More than $400m was allocated to 16 projects ranging from renewable energy to recycling as part of the first bond – including Liam the robotic recycling arm.

Sarah George

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