solar Stories June 9

AAPL: 99.65

Stock Chart

Update: John Weaver did a deeper dive on this over at Electrek

Apple has quietly created an energy subsidiary, ‘Apple Energy’ LLC, registered in Delaware but run from its Cupertino headquarters. The company was seemingly formed to allow it to sell excess electricity generated by its solar farms in Cupertino and Nevada, with plans to sell electricity across the whole of the US.

[Apple Energy LLC] is a Delaware limited liability company and is a 100% wholly owned subsidiary of Apple Inc. [Contact is] Apple Energy LLC, One Infinite Loop, Cupertino, CA 95014

Given Apple’s expertise and huge commitment to using renewable energy to power its operations, it is no surprise that it wants to ensure that its solar farms generate sufficient power to meet its needs. Because the sun only shines during the day obviously, Apple needs to shift its generation and its usage. Data centers need to go 24/7. Apple Stores are open in the evening. Apple has alternatives for this at its campus (see Fuel Cell generation below) but if it wants to operate 100% renewable, it has to “trade” overcapacity during the middle of the day for “net-metered” energy during the evening or cloudy days.


Apple’s Cupertino Campus 2 Photovoltaics are rated at 14 megawatts alone.

But a set of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission filings suggests that Apple could have bigger ambitions in the power field …

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solar Stories June 1

AAPL: 98.46

Stock Chart

After our attempt at explaining the 500% markup on Apple’s new solar array yesterday, further information has now confirmed that Apple’s new stores – starting in the brand new San Francisco location – will be utilizing a new walkable solar glass floor technology for electricity generation. According to a document on Onyx Solar’s website, Apple “has decided to commit itself to OnyxSolar’s designer photovoltaic technology for its new stores. The first of these is located in the heart of San Francisco, the company’s home town.” expand full story

solar Stories October 10, 2015

AAPL: 112.12

Stock Chart

If you’ve ever tried to charge your iPhones/iPads/etc. directly from a small solar panel you probably know it is pretty difficult. Even with direct sunlight, you aren’t likely to be able to charge the device reliably. Most USB-charged devices require a minimum of 5W (5Vx1A) of continuous power to even register a charge. Then a cloud comes or the sun moves and you aren’t charging anymore.

Adding a battery to the mix helps, especially if the battery is big and can charge the device on its own without any sun. But most of the solar/battery combos fall into 2 categories: Either messy because they are a bulky 2 step solution or the solar panel is too small to make a meaningful charge and you are mostly using it like a regular USB battery.


SolarTab is a breath of fresh air here. It is a relatively big 5.5W solar panel built on a thin 13,000mAh battery enclosure that fits in an included Moleskine-esque case. Size-wise, think the original iPad with a nice leather case and a huge solar panel instead of a screen…

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solar Stories September 22, 2015

AAPL: 113.40

Stock Chart

solar Stories July 16, 2015

Solar cell touch surface patent

Apple tends to patent every one of its inventions that could possibly be used in a future product, so it can be difficult to read the tea leaves on which ones will eventually translate to product features. A new patent from Apple highlighted by PatentlyApple today, though, describes a technology that would be a very welcome remedy to battery life issues. The patent covers applying solar cells to a touch display surface like a trackpad or iPhone to store power for the device: expand full story

solar Stories May 10, 2015

Apple today has announced a variety of new environmental initiatives for its China operations. Through a press release, the company announced a new multi-year partnership with World Wildlife Fund to increase responsibly managed forests throughout China. Apple also announced that it intends to expand its renewable energy projects to manufacturing facilities in China.

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