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Apple building US$850 million solar farm with First Solar

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Apple Inc is investing US$848 million in a solar farm to harvest electricity in a partnership with First Solar Inc.

[SAN FRANCISCO] Apple Inc is investing US$848 million in a solar farm to harvest electricity in a partnership with First Solar Inc.

Apple will receive power from 130 megawatts of First Solar's California Flats Solar Project in Monterey County, California, under a 25-year power-purchase agreement, the companies said in a statement on Tuesday. First Solar shares rose 2.1 per cent in extended trading, adding to a 4.8 per cent gain to US$48.54 at the close in New York.

The iPhone maker already powers all of its data centers with renewable energy. Tim Cook, Apple's chief executive officer, has advocated taking more steps to combat climate change. He unveiled the initiative during a presentation at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco. The agreement is the largest in the solar industry for a single commercial customer, he said.

Construction on the 2,900-acre (12-square kilometer) California Flats Solar Project will begin in the middle of the this year and be completed by the end of 2016, the companies said. Additional output of about 150 megawatts from the solar farm will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

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