Apple is investing $2 billion into GTAT’s failed sapphire plant and will serve it as Apple’s new data center facility. Construction on the new data center is expected to start by late 2016. In the meantime, the facility still holds furnaces purchased by GTAT and Apple, which are being liquidated as part of the sapphire maker's bankruptcy proceedings.
"This multi-billion dollar project is one of the largest investments we've ever made, and when completed it will add over 600 engineering and construction jobs to the more than one million jobs Apple has already created in the U.S.," the company said in a statement. "Like all Apple data centers, it will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, much of which will come from a new local solar farm."
In building the new data center facility, Apple has pledged to build and finance 70 megawatts of new solar power generation, which will be enough to power more than 14,500 homes.
"This is a great day for Arizona, and we have moved rapidly to make this happen and take advantage of Apple's interest in our state," Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement. "Apple is by far one of the most innovative and successful companies in the world. Its decision to bring this new facility to Mesa is a huge win for Arizona and a high testament to our business-friendly climate and talented workforce."
To power its iCloud services, Apple in recent years built massive data centers on both the east and west coast of the United States, with major facilities in Maiden, N.C., and Reno, Nev. Additional facilities are also located in Prineville, Ore., and Newark, Calif. Apple's Oregon facility is powered by a hydroelectric plant and wind energy, the California facility utilizes wind energy, and its Nevada center relies on solar and geothermal energy. The North Carolina operation, meanwhile, utilizes the largest privately owned solar farm in the country.