Science

SunPower And Apple Collaborate On Solar Projects In Mongolia

By Paul Pajarillo , Dec 02, 2015 07:37 PM EST
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Zhonghuan Energy, SunPower and Apple Inc. are collaborating to build a renewable energy facility in Mongolia. The solar power projects will have a capacity to produce 170 megawatts of electricity in Northern China.

There are three solar power projects going on in the northern Chinese territory. Apple Inc. shares 40 percent of the finances for the solar projects in Inner Mongolia, which estimates at $103 million, while Sichuan Zhonghuan Energy Co. Ltd. and SunPower share 60 percent of the remaining finances.

The solar power projects when finished will be jointly owned by Zhonghuan and SunPower and an unidentified third party, although Apple will have its share. With these projects, the multinational tech company will have its operational advantages in these remote areas with regard to supply and manufacturing, although electricity in these areas are still generated by coal-burning power plants.

SunPower and Apple have already established a solar power plant that produces 40 megawatts in Tibet and Qiang. These are both provinces under Sichuan of the People's Republic of China. The collaboration brings together experienced partners in diverse groups from different parts of the world to produce renewable energy through solar power that will contribute to the environment along with Mongolia's economy.

SunPower Chief Executive Officer Tom Werner states that this unique alliance formed in China has allowed renewable energy projects to be completed in a small amount of time. Renewable energy is not a new interest in Apple as it has been funding projects for solar and wind powers for some time.

Inner Mongolia is the heart of mining operations for earth metals that are rare. These rare metals are used in consumer technologies like computer hard drives, smartphones and even electric vehicles. This is also where large fossil fuel deposits are located. With coal-fired power plants as the main source for Mongolia's electricity, Werner adds that solar energy is much better for the environment and for human health. With the partnership, Mongolia will slowly transition away from coal and fossil fuel, and small victories for clean energy will add up eventually.

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