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article imageApple given go-ahead to sell solar energy

By Tim Sandle     Aug 6, 2016 in Technology
San Fransisco - Technology giant Apple has been given the all-clear by U.S. authorities to sell excess energy generated from its solar farm.
With the new agreement, Apple will begin to sell energy generated at its $850 million solar power farm in California. Apple has been operating the solar power facility since 2015. A year ago Apple entered into a $850 million partnership with sun-farm firm First Solar. The 2,900-acre plant is located in Monterey County. The plant generates around 130 megawatts of solar energy per year. The agreement was reached between Apple and the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Tim Ream (@ourcarbon): "Court rules Apple can legally start selling #solar power."
The excess energy (beyond what Apple needs for its own uses) will be sold onto the wholesale energy market. On paper, the amount of energy passed on would be enough to power 60,000 California homes each year. However, this might not be achieved in practice. According to Dr Niall Mac Dowell, who is a lecturer in energy and environmental technology at Imperial College London, "Just because Apple has invested in that capacity does not mean they'll get the same level of energy from it."
Other commentators see a more positive outcome. GTM Research analyst Colin Smith, in an interview with Money Herald, said: "It allows them to sell electricity into the wholesale markets and also use the wholesale markets as sort of a hedge."
Smith added: "If they’re buying power at 10 cents per kilowatt hour and wholesale power prices happen to move up to 15 cents, they can actually sell power directly and pocket the difference. This turns them much more into an independent power producer and really enables them to work the energy markets more freely."
Prue Turner x (@PrueTurnerxx): "Apple should put solar panels on the back of the next iPhone so we can charge our phones with solar power."
In related news, by varying the types of environmental gases researchers have been able to enhance the efficiency of solar cells so that they 'grow' in power on exposure to a special gas mixture.
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