Your Favorite Apple Products: Now Made with the Power of the Sun

by David Pomerantz

November 6, 2013

If you own an iPhone, iPad, or MacBook, Apple made an announcement on Monday that should make you feel pretty great: at least some part of your Apple products will soon be built using clean, renewable solar and geothermal energy.

[caption id="attachment_18758" align="alignnone" width="584"]Solar panels at Apple's data center in Maiden, NC. Courtesy GigaOM Solar panels at Apple's data center in Maiden, NC. Courtesy Gigaom[/caption]

Apple announced on Monday that it will start building high-tech glass for its products in Arizona, at a facility that will be 100 % powered by solar and geothermal energy.

This is great news, and something new from Apple. The company had already committed to 100 % renewable energy for its facilities, including data centers, the buildings that store and shuttle all of your pictures, music and videos in the iCloud. Because of that commitment, Apple is building a solar-powered data center in Nevada, and has deployed a large solar farm and fuel cells at its data center in North Carolina. Apple, along with fellow Internet giants Facebook and Google, is pushing the utility there, Duke Energy, to offer more clean energy for their data centers in the state. As Greenpeace has noted, Apples leadership on this issue is crucial, since the Internets footprint will grow as the worlds online population is expected to grow from two to five billion in the next five years.

But another key part of the Internets growing environmental impact is the physical devices we use to access it every day. While you may often think about the electricity your phone uses when you plug it into the wall, building and assembling your devices require more electricity than youll use for all your plug-ins of the product combined - Apple examines all the energy ever used by an iPad Air, for example, and finds that 76 % of it comes from the devices production.

Thankfully, Apple is again leading the way by expanding its commitment to clean energy to its manufacturing footprint as well. That sets an important precedent not only for the sector, but others listening in as well. In Arizona, for instance, Republican Governor Jan Brewer bucked her partys unfortunate talking points of recent years in welcoming Apples clean energy announcement, proudly noting that:

[Apples] investment in renewable energy will also be greening our power grid, and creating significant new solar and geothermal power sources for the state.

That remark is a great example of how corporate leadership from companies like Apple can help drive political change.

Apple still has lots it can do to power the rest of its manufacturing and supply chain with clean energy sources, but this weeks news gives cause for hope that the company will keep acting as one of the best leaders we have in the clean energy revolution.
David Pomerantz

By David Pomerantz

David Pomerantz is a Senior Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace USA, based in San Francisco. He helps lead Greenpeace's campaign for an economy powered by 100% renewable energy.

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