Apple to become 100% solar-powered in Singapore

U.S. tech giant Apple announced at the weekend that it will source 100% of its energy requirements in Singapore from solar power, beginning in January next year.

The company will partner with Sunseap Group, which is a local solar energy developer, to ensure that its entire operations in Singapore run exclusively on clean energy, with Apple providing financing for Sunseap to ensure its objectives are met.

Apple will become the first company in Singapore to be 100% renewably powered, and it will mark a significant step along the company’s journey to become completely renewable globally.

Sunseap will supply Apple with 1.1 MWp rooftop solar array, installed on an Apple building, plus an additional 40 GWh of solar energy harvested from its 800 rooftop PV arrays already installed atop buildings throughout Singapore, according to Sunseap. The electricity from the 800 rooftop systems will be supplied via an off-site PPA.

"In addition to Apple’s corporate office in Ang Mo Kio, two other buildings are expected to come up in 2016, in One North and Orchard Road locations in Singapore," Sunseap Group director Lawrence Wu told Bloomberg. "We expect to power these buildings and any more offices that Apple opens in the future."

Goh Chee Kiong, the executive director of Cleantech, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), said that the strategic partnership between Apple and Sunseap represents a new frontier in "Singapore’s drive to utilize more cost-competitive renewable energy, and at the same time achieve environmental sustainability and energy security".

He added: "We are confident that this pioneering business model of offsite PPAs will help Singapore address our space scarcity challenge and spur even more companies in Singapore to scale their renewable energy use."

The approach adopted by Apple in Singapore – to directly lease solar roof space and purchase off-site solar power – is not new, but the scale is unprecedented.

"The deal will cover all of our electricity needs in Singapore, including our 2,500-person corporate campus and new retail store," said Apple’s VP of environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson. "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 close to our goal of powering our facilities around the world with 100% renewable energy."

Apple’s solar efforts in 2015 have been bold. The company recently announced plans to add 200 MW of solar PV capacity in China, with a wider 2 GW of clean power planned in the country as it steps up its clean power objectives internationally. At home in the U.S., the company can already claim to be 100% renewable, while globally it sources more than 80% of its power from renewable sources.

This article was amended on March 16, 2016, to reflect that the 1.1 MWp array was additional to the 40 GWp off-site supply deal.