Apple has done it again… raising the bar of corporate leadership even higher, right after being valued at a record-breaking $700 billion, it now moves into investing a staggering $850 million in solar energy.
Apple committed to 100% renewable energy in 2012, and since that time, no company has moved with either the speed or integrity that Apple has to achieve its goal, culminating most recently in CEO Tim Cook’s announcement today of a massive solar energy deal that the company made in California.
Apple is investing $850 million in a power purchase agreement for 130 MW of electricity, enough to power 50,000 California homes, and enough to power its California data center, brand new headquarters, and all of its retail stores in the state.
Even by Apple’s standards, that is a truly outsized deal for solar power, and the largest commercial purchase of solar power ever, according to First Solar, which is developing the farm.
Cook noted that the deal, aside from being the right thing to do, was also simply good business, as it would offer the company “significant savings” over the rising costs of coal and gas-fueled “brown power.”
While others companies which have committed to 100% renewable energy still deserve credit for pointing their respective ships at the correct compass heading, they’d be well served to pay close attention to Cook’s statement today that “”We know in Apple that climate change is real. The time for talk is passed,” he said. “The time for action is now.”
Amazon.com, for instance, committed to power its rapidly growing and electricity-hungry data center division with 100% renewable energy in November of last year. In January, the company made its first deal for renewable energy, agreeing to a long-term purchase of wind energy for a new installation in Indiana. Both were great steps. But Amazon still has yet to offer any transparent information about its energy footprint, as Apple has. And while Apple is matching every new facility it builds with an investment in an equal or greater amount of renewable energy in the same location, Amazon continues to build data centers in coal and gas-fueled territory with no plan for how it will procure renewable energy to meet its growing demand.
Apple is setting the pace for the industry for what it means not only to commit to 100% renewable energy, but to move aggressively to achieve that goal. If you’re on Twitter, add your voice here by calling on other CEOs to follow Tim Cook’s lead and redouble their efforts to move toward 100% renewable energy.
This article appeared in The Environmentalist.