For years, Apple has been generating solar power at a number of enormous solar farms around the world, helping offset the energy used by its many manufacturing and distribution facilities. Although the company isn’t completely powering its global operations by solar energy, there is enough excess solar power being generated by Apple’s California headquarters and Nevada solar farm to warrant a new venture: Apple Energy LLC. The energy spin off company could begin selling surplus solar power as early as August.
Apple has a long track record of green investments, with solar farms in multiple countries, including China. The company generates enough solar power to meet 93 percent of its global energy needs, according to Apple’s latest environmental responsibility report. Last year, Greenpeace even named the California-based company the ‘world’s greenest tech company’ for its efforts in sustainable business practices, so it’s not surprising that Apple is taking its commitment one step further.
Related: Apple unveils nature-filled, solar-powered future for its retail stores worldwide
News of Apple’s foray into the field of energy sales was scooped by 9to5Mac, which reported that the company’s June 6 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) filing claims it can legally sell energy at market rates, since the new venture isn’t big enough to influence prices. The target audience for Apple Energy is a little unclear at this stage in the game, though. Most companies sell excess solar energy to corporate clients, but some suspect Apple could sell the surplus energy generated by the rooftop solar array at its Cupertino, California headquarters to local residents. Apple asked the FERC to grant permission to begin operations 60 days after its application, so we expect to report back with answers in early August.
Images via Foster + Partners and Apple
I think it would be a game changer electric companies in the Cupertino area if Apple can sell to residents. I think selling excess solar is going to be a big market in the coming years so long as it doesn't become over-saturated with businesses.