Apple has announced the world’s first commercial-scale solar panel with a capacity of 2 gigawatts.
The $6 billion panel, the company said on Thursday, will be installed at a factory in the United States, where it will be used for “advanced manufacturing and supply chain integration of high-energy solar cells”.
It’s a milestone in the technology of solar photovoltaic cells, which are used to power electric vehicles and homes, and the first time a company has launched a commercial solar panel in the US.
The company is one of a handful of global players in the burgeoning industry.
It has invested in other startups including the Chinese chipmaker Suntech and solar installer SolarCity.
Solar panels have been widely touted as a solution to rising energy costs as they provide a way to meet the rising demand for clean energy, with the costs of installing the panels falling over time.
But there has been a significant backlash against the technology as it has been criticised for the way it has come to dominate the market.
The cost of solar panels has soared to over $2 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), while the costs for wind and solar have also fallen.
Apple’s solar panel has a capacity to produce up to 1,000 megawatts of power, and is capable of producing up to 400,000 kilowatts of power.
The solar panel that will be put up at the factory in Nevada is expected to be delivered by 2019.
The company is aiming to build out a network of installations worldwide.
The product was originally conceived in 2013, when Apple’s former chief executive Tim Cook said that he had seen “a lot of potential in the world of solar technology” but that the technology needed to become “the new normal” to address climate change.
Apple said in a statement that the first solar panel would be made by a company that was “familiar with the technology, has the right expertise, and has the experience and skills to create this first-of-its-kind solar panel”.
It said it was “extremely confident that we will be able to deliver a solar panel to our customers in the next 18 months”, adding that it “will continue to develop new technologies and technologies to deliver these innovative products”.
It added: “The success of the solar panel will be directly related to the cost of the panels and will not be affected by market or geopolitical factors.”
It said that Apple’s solar panels would be “built by the world leader in the field”.
The company did not disclose the size of the factory it will use.