This article was published on September 21, 2016

Apple’s secretive solar project could power 12,500 homes

Apple’s secretive solar project could power 12,500 homes
Bryan Clark
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Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

Until now, there were few details about Apple’s secretive project to power its Mesa data center, a facility Apple announced would run entirely on solar power. Today, Salt River Project (SRP) — an Arizona-based water and electricity provider — spilled the beans.

The 300-acre solar plant resides in Florence, Arizona and intends to make up for the power use of Apple’s Mesa data center. While the facility won’t power the actual facility, it will create power for approximately 12,500 homes and neutralize the power needed for the Mesa facility, which comes entirely from the grid.

Credit: Apple

The facility — known as the Bonnybrooke solar plant — has a capacity of 50 megawatts, and will generate 151 million kilowatt-hours of power each year, according to Apple. There have been no details about pricing, but a similar deal saw SRP purchasing power from the Sandstone Solar Plant near Florence at a rate of 5.3 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“We can confirm that SRP will be paying a wholesale or market price for the product that will not negatively impact SRP customers,” spokesman Scott Harelson said.

If priced at the same 5.3 cents per kilowatt-hour, SRP stands to pay approximately $8 million a year, or $160 million over the life of the 20 year contract.

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