The plant is run by GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), and will produce sapphire glass for the screens of Apple products. Apple is paying $578 million to GTAT, which will own and operate the facility. This deal is predicted to produce 2,000 new manufacturing jobs.
Power will be supplied by the Salt River Project. All of the power for the facility will be sourced from renewable energy facilities. Salt River project currently has a renewable energy production capacity of 716 MW. The majority of this is generated through hydropower (391 MW), but 177 MW are generated through wind, and 63 are generated through solar plants as well. SRP’s portfolio also includes biomass and geothermal sources, and SRP hopes to produce 20% of its generation capacity through renewable sources by the year 2020.
This announcement comes after Apple has faced repeated criticism for its outsourcing practices and other corporate responsibility policies. Apple is supplied by a number of Asian electronics manufacturers, namely the Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group.
The move was praised by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer for both its promise of job creation and renewable energy promotion. According to Gov. Brewer, "Their investment in renewable energy will also be greening our power grid, and creating significant new solar and geothermal power sources for the state."
This project is part of a larger plan to increase manufacturing and sourcing in the U.S. A new version of the Macbook Pro, built entirely with American-made components, is set to be released next month as well.