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Apple Forms Energy Company to Sell Extra Solar Power

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As per a filing with the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Cupertino-based Apple Inc. AAPL has floated a new company Apple Energy LLC. It plans to sell excess solar energy generated through solar paneling on its new campus along with renewable energy from its facilities across Oregon, Nevada and California as well as from its hydrogen fuel cells.

As per the filing, if FERC permits then Apple could start selling energy as soon as August. It has requested permission to commence Apple Energy LLC’s operation within 60 days of the date of filing i.e. Jun 6.

However, the customer base Apple Energy will target is still uncertain. Analysts point out that private companies are eligible to sell their surplus energy to power companies at a whole sale rate but Apple in its filing has underscored that since it is not a big player in the energy space, its impact on prices will be negligible. So, it has met the legal requirements for selling electricity directly to customers. Currently, Alphabet GOOGL has rights (received in 2010) to sell surplus energy directly to customers.

Apple’s Go Green Initiatives

Apple meets 93% of its energy requirements via renewable energy facilities across the globe as per its latest Environmental Responsibility Report.

It has been aggressively investing to source renewable energy for its operations. The company has set an ambitious target to fuel 100% of its global energy needs, including supply chain, solely through renewable resources like solar, geothermal & wind power, biogas and hydro power. As per sources, Apple’s supply chain needs over an estimated 60 times more energy than its own facilities. It might also give more impetus on expanding its renewable energy generation capacities given the need to develop charging stations for its rumoured iCar.

Last year, the company made an impressive deal with U.S. solar-panel manufacturer behemoth First Solar FSLR for $848 million, one of the biggest deals in the clean energy space. Under the terms of the deal, Apple will receive power from 130 megawatts of First Solar’s California Flats Solar Project in Monterey County for 25 years. This solar project is expected to generate enough electricity for almost 60,000 Californian homes.

Currently, Apple states that it has gone 100% green in 23 countries including China, Germany and Singapore. Plus, all of Apple’s data centers are running on clean energy. It uses entirely recycled/sustainable paper for 99% of its packaging.

China remains high on the priority list for Apple’s go green initiative. Last year, the company launched two new programs to reduce the carbon footprint of its Chinese manufacturing partners. Under these programs, as much as 20 million metric tons of greenhouse gas pollution will likely be reduced in the country by 2020.

It has also built a 40 megawatt capacity solar power plant in the Sichuan province. It also plans to build 200 megawatt capacity solar power plants in northern, eastern and southern parts of China. To put it in perspective, Apple stated that energy generated by these plants is enough to light up 265,000 Chinese homes for a year and will offset Apple’s supply chain energy needs in the country.

CEO Tim Cook had earlier commented “Climate change is one of the great challenges of our time, and the time for action is now. The transition to a new green economy requires innovation, ambition and purpose. We believe passionately in leaving the world better than we found it and hope that many other suppliers, partners and other companies join us in this important effort.”

Undoubtedly, going green will help big companies to save on costs while helping to protect the environment at the same time.

At present, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Stocks to Consider

Better-ranked stocks in the broader technology space are Facebook Inc. FB which sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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