Apple Goes Green: Tech Giant to Begin Selling Surplus Solar Energy

Aug 10, 2016 03:44 AM EDT

The U.S. government has granted Apple the approval to sell their surplus energy.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved on Thursday an application from Apple's energy subsidiary to sell renewable electricity.

"Based on your representations, Apple Energy meets the criteria for a Category 1 seller in all regions and is so designated," Steve Rodgers, director of FERC's Division of Electric Power, said in a letter to Apple.

Apple formed Apple Energy LLC in June with the purpose of selling the company's excess solar energy. According to Clean Technica, 93% of Apple's facilities worldwide are powered by renewable electricity. The company's solar farms are producing enough energy that it decided to venture into clean energy business and put surplus energy up for sale.

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Apple owns a 20-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Nevada, a 50-MW facility being constructed in Arizona and another 67.5-MW facility in North Carolina, Clean Technica reports. The company also generates 18 MW on its California campus.

In 2015, Apple acquired 130 MW from First Solar, which is known as the "largest-ever solar procurement" by a non-utility company, as reported by Bloomberg Markets.

According to UtilityDive, the FERC approval means that the tech giant could now have the authority to influence power prices in regions where it owns and controls power generation facilities.

"When you own power production facilities then you would typically want to have authority to sell power," Kit Konolige, analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a report by Bloomberg Markets.

"It is indicative of a number of related trends that are lowering demand for power produced by utilities."

Other companies are now getting in on the race towards sustainability and renewable energy. Google, for instance, formed Google Energy and secured the same federal approval in February 2010. According to Inhabitat, major tech companies Amazon and Microsoft are also supporting solar farms and wind turbines.

Apple runs entirely on power generated from the sun, wind or water in facilities in 23 countries, including the U.S. and China.

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