Apple Inc. is set to open a new manufacturing plant in Arizona to begin producing iPhone components, including screens made from artificial sapphire. The plant itself is located in Mesa, Arizona and was previously owned by First Solar, a solar panel manufacturer. The move is expected to create 700 full-time jobs for Arizonans, as well as 1,200 temporary construction jobs.
Apple’s choice to set up shop in Arizona was largely shaped by the state’s aggressive lobbying of the company. Arizona offered the company tax breaks, expedited permitting, and other financial incentives. Additionally, the company stipulated that the plant had to be run entirely off of renewable energy sources.
For that, Apple negotiated directly with regional utility company SRP. The company’s insistence on going completely green prompted SRP to buy an additional 75 megawatts of renewable energy sourced from a combination of geothermal and solar plants. Apple was also able to secure a new substation for its facility to help manage the “significant electrical load” that SRP expects the plant to produce.
Apple’s demand for renewables is already drawing energy investors to Mesa, AZ, giving a boost to the state’s renewable energy industry. The company’s move to Arizona has also caught the attention of several businesses who wish to setup facilities near the new sapphire plant.
Currently, Apple claims to derive 75% of the energy it uses worldwide from renewable energy sources, setting an example for other companies in the consumer electronics industry.