Apple and SunPower Go Solar in China

Apple continues to walk the walk when it comes to solarization. Now it’s making a big splash on solar in China in partnership with SunPower.

Both are teaming up to build two 20-megawatt solar projects in China’s Sichuan province — which is a first, although together they’ve built six in America totaling 90 megawatts. Construction is already underway and feeding 2 megawatts back to the grid, but should be finished by the end of 2015.

It’s the latest in a line of joint ventures and manufacturing facilities SunPower has set for China, which itself happens to Earth’s largest renewable energy investor. Did I mention that Apple is also Earth’s largest company by market value? Bloomberg certainly did, when reporting the promising deal. So should we all.

In my corporate solar report card and analysis, Apple emerged a clear leader among the mammoth multinationals walking (or merely talking) the solarization walk. And that was after it gave First Solar $850 million to build solar farms in the so-called homeland. The international dimension of this subsequent team-up with America’s second-largest solar manufacturer makes Apple an international solarizer worth taking as seriously as China itself, which last year led the world in solar installations.

“This is a tremendous groundbreaking collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of experienced partners from different parts of the globe to build renewable solar energy ventures that contribute to the local economy and the environment,” SunPower CEO Tom Werner said in SunPower’s announcement. “These projects will provide clean, renewable energy, help address climate change, and continue to provide agricultural benefits to the local farmers, while protecting the area’s precious land. We continue to value our partnership with Apple and commend them for their global environmental commitment.”

It’s a commitment to solarization that should be emulated by everyone, unlike the polarization that characterizes America’s sad solar war with China. As oil continues to decouple from the U.S. economy, which is adding solar jobs at 10 times the national average, these international agreements for the future good should become less rare. Evidently, we can all just get along.

This article appeared at Solar Energy