Apple is taking its investment into renewable energy in Nevada seriously.
The Turquoise Solar Project in Washoe County is now up and running. The farm produces 61 megawatts of direct current and is located east of Reno on roughly 180 acres within the master planned Reno Technology Park. On March 17th, Apple released the news of the project in partnership with Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company (GREC). GREC is the utility-scale renewable energy development company that owns Turquoise Solar.
“Turquoise … is very highly regarded in the solar power industry,” Charles Wheeler, CEO of GREC, said in a press release. “Completing it has been a huge accomplishment and is the product of a tremendous collaborative effort between the parties involved.
“… Despite an extremely challenging year across the country, 2020 was a year of growth for us, as we continued to bring amazing new wind and solar projects like this one online. During the year, our total investment income increased by 60% reflecting the strong growth we’ve achieved thanks to projects like Turquoise.”
The estimated $60 million project reached commercial operation in December and “has outperformed expected power generation to date, despite lower-than-expected levels of sunshine,” according to GREC.
Originally developed by Estuary Capital Partners and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas, Turquoise Solar was acquired by GREC in 2019. After construction began in November 2019, the project created 236 clean energy construction jobs of which 90% were filled by Nevada residents. With so much of Turquoise Solar being located on rocky desert terrain, the engineers found it challenging to design a plan for the site and partnered with TerraSmart to help.
“Thanks to the collaborative partnership with TerraSmart, this was another project where our team could design and engineer a solution for a solar project that had very unique terrain challenges,” Scott Canada, senior vice president of McCarthy’s Renewable Energy Group, said in a statement. “We are also grateful to the exceptional local craft workforce for their ability to work safely and efficiently during these challenging times.
“Their efforts ensured the commission of the Turquoise Solar Project, allowing for the generation of clean energy to power Apple’s data center.”
The site is already hard at work delivering 50 megawatts of renewable power to Apple’s data center at the Reno Technology Park, making it the company’s fourth renewable project totaling 270 megawatts. Turquoise Solar represents just one small piece of Apple’s $4.7 billion “Green Bond” initiative that aims to relieve an average of 921,000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually (equivalent to removing almost 200,000 cars from the road).
“Apple is proud that for nearly three years we’ve powered all of our worldwide operations with 100 percent renewable energy,” Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, said in a statement. “In the process, we’ve charted a course for other companies and organizations to bring clean energy projects to communities around the world and help combat climate change.
“We’re excited to have the Turquoise Solar Project bringing new renewable energy to Nevada.”
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