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Apple is investing $850 million to build a giant solar farm that will power its new headquarters

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The company is partnering with First Solar on an ambitious renewable energy project

Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Apple CEO Tim Cook told an audience at the Goldman Sach's Technology and Internet conference that the company is very focused on making environmentally responsible decisions. As proof, he offered up a piece of news. Cook says Apple is investing $850 million to build a brand new 1,300-acre solar farm in Monterey, California. The energy produced there will be used, at least in part, to power Apple's new headquarters.

"We know at Apple that climate change is real."

"We know at Apple that climate change is real," said Cook. "The time for talk has passed and the time for action is now." He says that not only is this the right thing to do, but that it will result in major savings for the company over time. Apple is partnering with First Solar to build the farm. That's the same company that Apple bought a massive factory site from in Arizona, a location that will also reportedly be used for construction of a solar powered data command center. "We're thrilled to continue on a course of doing things that make the world better than we found it," concluded Cook.

The project is expected to add 130 megawatts of new solar power to California, enough to power about 50,000 average homes. It will cover all the company's energy needs in the state, including Apple Campus 2, other California corporate offices, the data center in Newark, California, and the 52 Apple stores in California.

First Solar says the 25-year deal is the "largest agreement in the industry to provide clean energy to a commercial end user." The company also says that Apple's investment will pay dividends for the entire state down the road. "Apple is leading the way in addressing climate change by showing how large companies can serve their operations with 100 percent clean, renewable energy," said Joe Kishkill, Chief Commercial Officer for First Solar. "Apple’s commitment was instrumental in making this project possible and will significantly increase the supply of solar power in California."

"Other Fortune 500 CEOs would be well served to make a study of Tim Cook."

Environmentalist groups reacted positively to the news. "It's one thing to talk about being 100 percent renewably powered, but it's quite another thing to make good on that commitment with the incredible speed and integrity that Apple has shown in the past two years," said Greenpeace in a statement. "Apple still has work to do to reduce its environmental footprint, but other Fortune 500 CEOs would be well served to make a study of Tim Cook, whose actions show that he intends to take Apple full-speed ahead toward renewable energy with the urgency that our climate crisis demands."