Apple, the electronics wizard, has permission to establish its third solar farm in North Carolina. Apple plans to spend $55 million, to create this 17.5 MW new solar farm. It estimates that the construction will be completed 5 years after purchase of the land.
This development will be in the greater area of the city of Claremont, North Carolina. The property is not in the city corporate limits. It is in the city annex extraterritorial jurisdiction, according to North Carolina newspaper Hickory Daily Record.
Expectations are that Apple’s project will provide 75 new jobs during construction. City Manager Doug Barrick notes that Apple’s intention is to source jobs from the local area. The land spans 100 acres (40 hectares). Hickory Daily Record also pointed out that this is the third solar project for Catawba County.
The Claremont City Council approved the agreement and the Council also agreed to a separate resolution. A land swap was approved in an area earmarked for greenways, public recreation and other public purposes, which had a combined value is more than $92,000. This 1.5-acre piece of land is part of the exchange for Apple’s offering. Approved to be swapped is a plot that in past times was the city’s South Waste Water Treatment Plant. Not used since 1993, the land is worth $36,000.
“And paperwork filed in 2013 with the N.C. Utilities Commission by SunPower Corporations Systems transferred to Apple the rights for construction of a 20 megawatt farm on Lai Ber Road in Conover.”
Another big investor in the regional solar farm market is Duke Energy, which has invested more than $2.5 billion since 2007. Owning 15 solar farms in the US, it has built a stable presence in the commercial solar and wind energy sectors.
As many of you know, Apple was hounded by Greenpeace for years because it lagged behind tech colleagues in transitioning to a clean energy future. But then it started announcing solar farms to cover 75% its electricity use, it hired former EPA Chief Lisa Jackson to act as Vice President of Environmental Initiatives, it announced plans to become 100% powered by renewables, and it became known as more of a clean energy leader than a clean energy laggard. That trend continues.