Tech giant Apple started Apple Energy LLC back in June with the goal of selling their surplus solar energy. While 93 percent of their power came from renewable energy last year, some of Apple’s solar farms produce enough energy that the company apparently decided to jump into the clean energy business. Now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted Apple approval to sell their surplus energy.
Apple holds 20 megawatts (MW) of a Nevada solar farm, 50 MW of an Arizona facility being built, and 67.5 MW in North Carolina. At their California campus they also can generate 18 MW. Last year they agreed to buy 130 MW from First Solar, a move Bloomberg said at that point in time was the “largest-ever solar procurement” by a company that was not a utility. Over the next 25 years, Apple will shell out $850 million on the First Solar solar farm near San Francisco.
Speaking on the new FERC approval, Bloomberg analyst Kit Konolige said, “When you own power production facilities then you would typically want to have authority to sell power. It is indicative of a number of related trends that are lowering demand for power produced by utilities.”
Other major tech companies have been getting in on the push towards sustainability and renewable energy. Google created Google Energy and obtained similar approval around six years ago. Like Apple, Google has said it aims to run its company entirely on renewable energy (Apple’s data centers already run on clean energy). Amazon and Microsoft have also supported solar farms and wind turbines.
With the FERC approval, Apple is cleared to start selling renewable energy it owns but doesn’t need. According to Bloomberg, the FERC approval means the government agency determined Apple’s energy business entry likely won’t “unfairly hike up power prices.”