Singapore's first Apple Store will run by the sun

This new Apple retail site, expected to open next year, will be Southeast Asia’s first store powered entirely by solar energy.

Wong Maye-E/AP
A man walks into one of Apple's authorized premium resellers' outlets on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Singapore. Apple will open its first retail store in Singapore, which will also be Southeast Asia's first to be powered solely by solar energy, officials said Monday. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Sometime next year, the iPhones, MacBooks, and other gadgets on display in Singapore’s first-ever Apple retail store will be brought to life solely by the sun. The new site, expected to open next year, will be Southeast Asia’s first store to be powered entirely by solar energy.

Sunseap Group, a solar energy developer, said it will supply the store with renewable energy in January by utilizing its systems that sit on top of 800 city rooftops.

The store’s location or opening date has yet to be announced, though it is expected to be next year.

"Sunseap's strategic partnership with Apple represents a new frontier in Singapore's drive to utilize more cost-competitive renewable energy," Goh Chee Kiong, a top official at the government's Economic Development Board, told The Associated Press.

Apple would not directly comment on the energy plan, but said through a statement by Angela Ahrendts, a corporate official, that the company is "thrilled to begin hiring a team that will open our first Apple Store in Singapore."

The company’s website shows 14 available positions for its future Singapore retail site, including technical assistants, store leaders, and business managers.

Currently, Apple sells its products through about 18 outlets owned by two authorized premium sellers in the city-state, plus its online store.

As The Christian Science Monitor reported last week, renewables now account for almost half of the world’s new power supply, but still contribute only a small fraction of overall global energy output. But the International Energy Agency expects renewables to become the number one source of electricity generation in the next 20 years.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, Apple has already been using 100 percent renewable energy for all operations in the United States and is up to 87 percent for its global operations.

“To achieve this we use a tiered approach—starting with energy efficiency, followed by an aggressive use of Apple-owned, new renewable energy generation projects, and then through industry-leading partnerships with utilities and renewable energy providers for grid-purchased renewable energy,” the company said in a statement on the EPA’s website.

Other companies that have achieved 100 percent renewable energy usage or more include Intel, Microsoft, Kohl’s, REI, H&M, TD Bank, and many others.  

On Thursday, The Christian Science Monitor reported on the power grid’s evolution toward solar, particularly in Vermont. The clean energy source is expected to become increasingly affordable in the next five years:

.. many customers large and small will draw less electricity from large power plants – facilities utilities have paid a lot of money to build and operate. By 2020, the falling costs of panels and related installation expenses are expected to bring the price of solar energy “to within striking distance” of new construction for [traditional] fossil-fuel plants and for nuclear plants, according to an analysis by researchers with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm.

This report contains material from The Associated Press.

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