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Apple invests nearly a billion bucks in California solar farm

Looking for projects to spend its mountains of money on, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Tuesday the tech behemoth intends to lay down nearly a billion bucks for the construction of a gargantuan solar farm in Monterey, California.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco, Cook described the plan as the company’s “boldest, biggest, most ambitious project” to date.

Working with solar panel maker First Solar, the completed 1300-acre farm will provide enough energy to power Apple’s California operations, including its under-construction ‘spaceship’ headquarters,’ which should be ready to welcome employees as early as next year.

Keen to highlight his company’s green credentials, Cook told his audience, “We know in Apple that climate change is real. The time for talk is passed – the time for action is now.”

Arizona-based First Solar said work on building the new solar farm is set to begin around the middle of this year and should be completed by the end of 2016. It described the deal with Apple as “the largest agreement in the industry to provide clean energy to a commercial end user.”

Environmental group Greenpeace responded positively to the news of Apple’s investment, saying in a statement: “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.”

It added that while Apple still had work to do to reduce its environmental footprint, “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.”

The news of Apple’s $850 million investment in the Monterey solar farm comes just a week after it said it’d be spending a sizable $2 billion on converting its failed sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona into a brand new data command center, which’ll also be powered by a solar farm.