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Apple forges deal to run all Singapore operations on solar power, confirms first local Apple Store

Apple on Sunday announced a deal that will see its Singapore operations fully powered by solar energy, expanding on similar efforts in countries like the U.S. and China, and also confirmed an upcoming local Apple Store that will be the first in Southeast Asia.

Beginning in January, local firm Sunseap Group will supply power to Apple from a network of panels built on top of 800 buildings in the city, Reuters said. Apple should in fact be the first company in Singapore to operate entirely on renewable energy.

Apple's VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, noted that her company will supply Sunseap with financing to complete a solar build-out. The executive didn't say how much money would be offered, but the project as a whole will generate 50 megawatts of power, with 33 megawatts going to Apple. Jackson added that Singapore's development board offered backing because some of the energy will flow to public-owned housing.

Apple is gradually working towards making all of its global operations and facilities supported by renewable energy. It recently finished a 40-megawatt project in China's Sichuan Province, for instance, finally making its operations in both that country and the U.S. either fully powered or offset by renewables.

The trickier problem has been third-party suppliers, which still rely heavily on coal. Apple and its primary supplier, Foxconn, have however announced solar projects that will produce hundreds of megawatts of solar energy, and the long-term goal is to reach 2 gigawatts of clean sources for the Apple supply chain.

As part of today's announcement, Apple confirmed the opening of its first local retail outlet in Singapore, which also happens to be the company's first in Southeast Asia. Apple SVP of Retail Angela Ahrendts added color to the announcement in a statement to TechCrunch.

"We have more than 900 incredible employees working in our Singapore contact center and are thrilled to begin hiring the team that will open our first Apple Store in Singapore — an incredible international city and shopping destination," Ahrendts said. "We can't wait to deliver the service, education and entertainment that is loved by Apple customers around the world."