Apple's Singapore operations to run entirely on renewable energy

Singapore-based solar energy provider, Sunseap Group, signs a "long-term contract" commencing in January 2016 to fully power Apple's Singapore operations, and new retail store, on renewable energy.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

Apple will be tapping renewable energy to fully power its Singapore operations, making it "the first company" in the country to do so.

The iPhone maker signed a "long-term contract" with Singapore-based solar energy provider, Sunseap Group, which will commence in January 2016, said Sunseap in a statement. Touting it "a landmark agreement", the company said the deal would see Apple's South Asia operations--supported out of its Singapore outfit--powered fully by renewable energy.

"This arrangement, which is in line with Apple's goal to power all of its facilities around the world with 100 percent renewable energy, is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia," Sunseap said. It added that its solar energy systems had been installed in more than 800 buildings in Singapore, enabling customers such as Apple to tap this grid to supplement its power requirements.

The company's clientele includes several government agencies and energy services providers in the city-state, said its managing director Frank Phuan.

Apple's vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson, said: "Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and it's going to take determination and innovation to make the much needed transition to a green economy.

"This deal will cover all of our electricity needs in Singapore, including our 2,500-person corporate campus and new retail store," Jackson said. "We're thrilled to be working with Sunseap and the government of Singapore to pioneer new ways to bring solar energy to the country--and bring Apple even closer to our goal of powering our facilities around the world with 100 percent renewable energy."

Sunseap said it had customised its deployment for Apple, encompassing on-site rooftop solar leasing of 1.1Mwp and up to 40GWh worth of clean energy. This would be delivered via an off-site power purchase agreement, it explained.

According to a Reuters report, the rooftop solar panels would be installed on public-owned buildings as well as Apple's own facilities, generating 50MW of solar energy, or sufficient power to support the equivalent of 9,000 homes. Apple said it would receive 33MW of capacity generated from this initiative, which it would help fund to support Sunseap in the rollout.

Sunseap's director Lawrence Wu noted that the company provided hybrid offerings that included solar leasing and clean energy retail services, which aimed to address challenges related to limited roof space in space-constrained markets such as Singapore.

Apple last month unveiled two initiatives in China as part of the company's efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of its manufacturing contractors in the country. The scheme aimed to avoid more than 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution between now and 2020, and included the construction of 40MW of solar projects in the Sichuan Province. These solar installations generated more than the amount of electricity used by Apple's offices and retail stores in China.

Jackson's comments also confirmed rumours that Apple would be setting up its first retail store in the country, following news that a gym was moving out of a building located in the heart of Singapore's Orchard Road shopping strip, to make way for a future Apple store. The iPhone maker, though, has yet to confirm the location.

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