$850 million. That's the amount of cash Apple is spending on what Bloomberg calls "the biggest commercial solar deal EVER." This may seem like a lot of money but it's actually less then a percent of what Apple has on hand. Earning reports this year leads to over $178 billion in cash. Apple acquired the solar company First Solar and plans to cover 2,999 acres in solar panels by the end of 2016. The solar farm will be able to generate 130 megawatts, which is enough to power all their California stores, headquarters, and a data center.
It's a smart move, and though it's record-breaking, it's not unusual: A whole cadre of other mega-companies are buying stakes in solar and wind farming projects in the US, from Ikea to Wal-Mart. More importantly, tech companies have been scrambling to find more efficient ways to power their ever-growing sprawl of data centers. As reported last year, Facebook is pouring resources into finding better ways to build these energy-hogs, including buying up wind energy to offset the cost.
As companies like Apple and Facebook move into green energy alternatives, positive outlooks on the company are place on public eyes and being green will save a bit of money in the long run.