Apple has pledged $848 million for solar power from First Solar's 130-megawatt California Flats Solar Project in Monterey County, Calif. under a 25-year power-purchase agreement (PPA) with Pacific Gas and Electric.

This is the first wholesale commercial and industrial PPA executed by First Solar, and it's Apple's fourth solar farm project. 

"Apple's commitment was instrumental in making this project possible and will significantly increase the supply of solar power in California," said Joe Kishkill, First Solar's chief commercial officer, in a release.

Facts about the California Flats Solar Project:

  • It's on 2,900 acres occupying 3 percent of a property owned by Hearst Corporation in Cholame, Calif. (the Jack Ranch)
  • Construction is expected to start this year, and is slated to be finished by the end of 2016
  • The output of the balance of the solar farm will be sold to PG&E under a separate PPA
  • The project is fully subscribed with the Apple and PG&E PPAs
  • The facility is going to consist of a mix of fixed-tilt modules and single-axis trackers, according to a First Solar spokesperson

According to a release, "In January, the Monterey County Planning Commission unanimously approved the California Flats Solar Project, sending the project to the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, which will consider final approval of the project today."

There are currently 386 megawatts-AC worth of large off-site commercial solar projects in development across the U.S., according to GTM Research's Cory Honeyman and the GTM Research Utility PV Tracker.

Source: GTM Research Utility PV Tracker

Today's agreement shows that the wholesale commercial sector is alive and well.

Apple shares were up 2 percent and First Solar shares were up 5 percent today.