Apple this week signed a development agreement with the City of Claremont, which will allow it to build its third massive solar farm in North Carolina. When finished, the 100-acre farm is expected to produce 17.5 megawatts at a development cost of $55 million.
The new development will be the company’s third solar farm not only in North Carolina, but within Catawba County. The first is a 20 megawatt farm located on the company’s campus in Maiden, and in 2013 Apple gained the rights for construction of a second 20 megawatt farm in Conover. The farms are used to power the Maiden iCloud data center, which like all the company’s data centers runs on 100 percent renewable energy.
The latest approval required the City of Claremont to annex land that was not in the city’s corporate limits, but in its extraterritorial jurisdiction. A separate agreement allows for a land swap between Apple and the City, with Apple returning two parcels of land to be used for greenways, public recreation and other public purposes. The project is expected to create 75 jobs during construction, which Apple has pledged to source locally if possible.
One incentive for undertaking such a development in North Carolina is that under state law, “80 percent of the appraised value of a solar energy electric system is excluded from the city’s tax base,” according to the Hickory Record. City manager Doug Barrick noted that the total appraised value of the development won’t be known until it is completed. Construction of the massive solar farm is expected to take five years from the starting date.
Photos via Apple