Apple to build battery-based solar energy storage project in California


FILE PHOTO: The Apple Inc logo is seen hanging at the entrance to the Apple store on 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York, U.S., October 16, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

(Reuters) - Apple Inc said on Wednesday that it will build a battery-based renewable energy storage facility in Central California near a solar energy installation that already provides energy for all of its facilities in the state.

Apple said the project will store 240 megawatt-hours of energy, or enough to power more than 7,000 homes for one day. It is located next to the California Flats solar installation in southeastern Monterey County, about 100 miles southeast of Apple's Cupertino, California headquarters.

The site sends 130-megawatts of electricity directly to Apple's California facilities during daylight hours but does not provide power during dark hours. Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, told Reuters in an interview the company intends to develop what it believes will be one of the largest battery-based storage systems in the United States.

"The challenge with clean energy - solar and wind - is that it's by definition intermittent," Jackson told Reuters. "If we can do it, and we can show that it works for us, it takes away the concerns about intermittency and it helps the grid in terms of stabilization. It's something that can be imitated or built upon by other companies."

News portal Verge reported, citing Monterey County's planning chief, that Apple will receive the battery packs for this facility from electric-car maker Tesla Inc.

Its setup will consist of 85 Tesla lithium-ion "megapacks," the report added. Monterey County officials, Apple and Tesla did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests outside regular business hours.

Jackson said Apple plans to share its findings from building the project with other companies, but said it was too early to say precisely how it would do so. Apple has other projects where it has shared environmental technology developments, including an aluminum smelting joint venture in Canada and an Apple recycling technology lab in Texas.

Apple on Wednesday also said that 110 of its suppliers are now moving to using clean energy for the work they do for Apple, with about 8 gigawatts of clean energy production planned as a result, or what Apple said was the equivalent of removing 3.4 million cars from the road. The figure is an increase from last year when Apple said 70 of its suppliers had made the transition to clean energy for Apple work when it set a goal to eliminate carbon emissions from its supply chain by 2030.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco, additional reporting by Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Uttaresh.V)

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