Apple Inc. established Apple Energy LLC in June. The company has been buying, leasing, and even building solar facilities since then. Last Thursday, August 4, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, approved their facilities and granted the company the right to sell their excess power, according to Clean Technica.
Apple currently owns solar facilities in Nevada, Arizona, California, and North Carolina. A 130-megawatt solar farm facility is now being constructed in California which the tech company recently purchased from First Solar. It is estimated that this facility alone could run 60,000 homes. The makers of the iPad also own two behind-the-meter generating plants located on their California Campuses that together produce 18 megawatts.
Apple also has the capacity to produce 67.5 megawatts of electricity in North Carolina and 20 megawatts from their Ft. Churchill solar farm in Lyon County, Nevada. There is also a 50-megawatt facility called Bonnybrooke, under construction in Pinal County, Arizona. The tech giant plans to sell electricity from its hydrogen fuel cells as well.
Apple Energy LLC qualifies as a Category 1 seller in all six regions of the U.S. at market rates. Steve Rogers, FERC Division of Electric Power director, advised Apple’s legal council of their status as quoted in Clean Technica.
“Based on your representations, Apple Energy meets the criteria for a Category 1 seller in all regions and is so designated,”
Apple Inc. has been using solar power for some time now, with 93 percent of the electricity the company uses worldwide coming from solar energy last year, according to Inhabitat. In 23 countries, Clean Technica reports that the innovative company behind iPhones uses solar, wind, and water in nearly all their facilities. The company is dedicated to reducing their own carbon footprint.
Now Apple Energy LLC is helping ordinary Americans gain access to clean electricity as well, even as they purchase electricity from their own power companies. Power companies resell electricity they buy from clean energy innovators like Apple. Bloomberg‘s Kit Konolige is quoted by Inhabitat explaining that companies owning power production facilities are helping others by selling that power in order to lower the demand for fossil fuel.
“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.”
Apple Energy LLC is not the only clean power company owned by high-tech mega giants. Google received their approval from the FERC to sell electricity in February of 2010. That was six years ago. Google bought 236 megawatts worth of wind farms in Sweden and Norway, in June 2015, according to the BBC. Amazon and Microsoft also support deriving electricity from clean sources.
Microsoft has announced that it is experimenting with underwater data centers. They hope this measure will reduce heating and cooling costs. According to the BBC, a variety of companies from around the world are becoming energy independent. James Court, head of policy for the UK Renewable Energy Association, believes that businesses will supply their own electricity increasingly in the future.
“One of the growth areas in the UK is going to be companies self-supplying through solar power. I think we’re seeing a rise of self-supplying already,”
Apple Energy LLC is a great investment of the tech company’s resources. Energy independence through solar, wind, and other renewable sources is a great advantage. Whether as a nation, as a corporation or as an individual homeowner, it is nice not to be dependent on fossil fuels. To create one’s own electricity saves money, and to make money from electricity production is even better.
Apple Energy LLC has only just begun to provide clean renewable energy to the public.
[Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images]