If Apple will invest all their money into solar energy, how much they’ll produce?
Let us begin with a few caveats. The extra money Apple has, which can be referred to as cash at hand, money in the bank or cash reserve, actually fluctuates. Contrary to common perception, cash at hand is not exactly having the piles of cash stocked up in the Cupertino safes. Also, the cash at hand is reported from time to time so one cannot really say how much cash Apple has at a given point in time. All the time, a large portion of the cash is essentially money to be paid to the shareholders and investors so technically it is not just surplus that can be invested anywhere. Having laid out these caveats, let us now presume a scenario wherein Apple invests all of its extra money into solar panels. How much energy would it generate?
There are different reports reporting Apple’s extra money. Some claim $203 billion while some claim $216 billion. Let us be conservative and take $200 billion as the cash reserve Apple has.
• In 2014, $100 billion was spent on solar power worldwide and that was in addition to the infrastructure already in place. In 2013, the world generated 142 Giga-watt of solar power. It was 178 GW in 2014. 2015 witnessed a further rise and crossing of the threshold of 200 GW. The cost of generating a watt of solar power is $2. That is the global average.
• According to that calculation, Apple’s $200 billion would be able to generate 100 GW of solar power. However, since the expansion of infrastructure would increase the capacity, the cost of solar power will go down or the energy generated will increase. It is estimated that a fresh influx of funds, to the tune of $200 billion which is Apple’s extra money, will reduce the cost of solar power from $2 per watt to $1 per watt. In effect, the energy generated by $200 billion would be 200 GW.
• The total solar power generated, using 2015 as the base year, will be more than 400 GW after Apple’s extra money is fully used and new infrastructure is in place. With the reduced cost of solar power, there will be a reduction in the cost of solar panels and other components used to set up the farms. The industries associated with solar power or those that can be associated will also witness growth and would set up solar energy powered devices, infrastructure and services. This will provide a further boost in two to three years after Apple’s investment.
Apple’s $200 billion will effectively generate much more than 200 GW of solar power, in addition to what is already being generated. That is four times of what Germany produces or what the entire world produces right now!