Make no mistake, this has been a tough year for Apple. The California-based technology giant has faced its fair share of headwinds, most notably an unprecedented decrease in sales of its blockbuster iPhone.
Some investors have panicked and made a dash for the exits. But this has only given us opportunities to scoop up shares at fire-sale prices. Indeed, Apple, which competes neck and neck with Alphabet for the top spot as the world's most valuable brand, still holds loads of promise for investors.
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While some pundits may perceive Apple's foray into solar as a desperate cash grab, it's actually a smart move that should bring in extra revenues while the company's business model wheels around to another upswing.
That's because Apple's business is extremely cyclical. And its stock correspondingly moves through periods of booms and busts. A dynamite new product is released and Apple shares skyrocket -- sometimes by as much as tens of thousands of percent. Then sales growth slows as the product becomes old news. The stock trends downward. Then Apple unveils yet another great innovation and the stock jumps back up again, making millionaires of its investors.
While consumers, analysts, and investors wait for Apple's "next big thing," which could very well be the iPhone 7 due out this fall, Apple isn't going to sit back and watch the paint peel on its Cupertino office wall. Instead, the company has revealed that it has created a subsidiary, Apple Energy LLC, with the intention of selling electricity directly to consumers.
The power is generated by Apple's massive solar power infrastructure. According to the company, 93% of the electricity Apple consumes -- including at its retail stores -- comes from renewables. As of March, the company has invested in an estimated 521 megawatts of solar power.
And Apple is generating loads of excess solar power. That's where Apple Energy comes into play. The company is currently looking to sell the extra energy back to the wholesale market. But by August, the company plans to sell this energy directly to consumers. This would allow Apple to receive the going market, rather than wholesale, rates for the solar power.
Now, this is not going to make nearly as huge an impact on Apple's revenues as the release of, say, a new iPad would. Nor is Apple Energy in line to compete with solar giants such as First Solar or SunPower. But this could provide some nice extra padding to Apple's bottom line, on top of keeping consumers -- and investors and analysts -- interested in Apple's diverse projects.
Apple stock is hovering above $99 per share today. It's not going to stay below $100 for long. And when it rockets back up on the release of its "next big thing," investors stand to net some very pretty profits indeed.
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