Apple chief executive Tim Cook said Tuesday that the company is taking on an ambitious project: an enormous solar farm that will provide enough power for all of the company’s corporate offices, California stores, its forthcoming campus and more.
The project will be undertaken in collaboration with First Solar as part of that firm’s 2,900-acre California Flats solar project. Apple’s portion of the farm is 1,300 acres and will add 130 megawatts of solar power to the California grid, First Solar said in a statement.
Cook made his comments at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in New York; Apple streamed the remarks online. Cook said he expects that the $848 million investment Apple makes in the solar farm will result in “significant savings” for the technology company because it can secure a fixed price for renewable energy that is lower than traditional power. He called the venture the company’s “biggest” and “boldest” project to date, according to AppleInsider.
All of Apple’s data centers run on renewable energy — solar, wind and geothermal. According to Apple’s latest company report on environmental initiatives, 73 percent of its facilities are green. Last week, the Associated Press reported, Apple pledged to foot the bill for 70 megawatts of new solar power in Arizona to power a new data center.
The 25-year agreement between First Solar and Apple is believed to be the clean-energy industry’s largest such deal so far. Construction will begin in Monterey County, Calif., this year and is expected to be finished by the end of 2016, First Solar said.
— Hayley Tsukayama
RadioShack is asking the bankruptcy court to approve as much as $3 million in retention bonuses for top executives and other “critical employees.”
The Fort Worth-based electronics retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week, said it has identified eight executives and 30 employees who are critical to the sales and operations of the company.
A hearing on the executive bonuses is scheduled for March 4. In its court filing, RadioShack argued that the key executives are necessary to maximize the value of the assets for creditors.
These executives “worked tirelessly to help negotiate a stalking horse bid, and were further successful in raising the bid by more than $30 million from the initial bid,” the bankruptcy filing said.
The court filing did not name the eight executives. RadioShack has asked the court to allow it to set aside $2 million for them, ranging from $88,000 to $650,000 for each. The executives would receive the bonus money in three separate payments.
For the other 30 critical employees, RadioShack wants to reserve $1 million for retention bonus payments.
As it filed for bankruptcy Thursday, RadioShack announced a deal to sell between 1,500 and 2,400 of its store locations to Standard General, a hedge fund that was also its largest shareholder. Separately, Standard General secured an agreement with Sprint to open wireless stores inside as many as 1,750 of the locations.
— Fort Worth Star-Telegram
● The number of available jobs posted by U.S. employers rose in December to the highest level in 14 years. Employers also filled more jobs and more employees quit, two additional signs of an improving labor market. Job openings rose 3.7 percent to a seasonally adjusted 5 million, the Labor Department said. That is the most since January 2001. Total hires also increased 1.9 percent to 5.1 million. The number of quits rose 2.1 percent to 2.7 million. More quits are a sign of confidence in the economy, because people typically quit when they have other jobs lined up, usually at higher pay, or are optimistic that they can find new positions.
● The Energy Information Administration reduced its 2015 U.S. crude production outlook as lower prices curb drilling. U.S. output will rise 7.8 percent to 9.3 million barrels a day this year, the highest since 1972, the agency said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. That’s a 10,000 barrel reduction from what the agency projected in January. Production in 2016 is forecast to climb to 9.52 million, the most since 1970.
● Coca-Cola reported a slightly higher-than-expected profit as sales in North America, its biggest market, rose for the first time in four quarters. North American sales were up 2 percent to $5.37 billion in the fourth quarter, accounting for about half of total sales. Analysts say U.S. consumers are still drinking less soda but are paying more for it. Coke’s prices in North America rose 4 percent overall in the quarter. The company said net income attributable to shareholders fell to $770 million in the quarter from $1.71 billion a year earlier. Net operating revenue fell 2 percent to $10.87 billion, exceeding analysts’ estimates.
— From news services
● Earnings: PepsiCo, Tesla Motors, Whole Foods Market.