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Apple makes history, times two

February 11, 2015, 3:46 PM UTC

By now, you know Apple just became the first U.S. company ever to generate a market capitalization above $700 billion.

The technology trendsetter (AAPL) actually touched that mark late last year, but Tuesday was the first day its stock closed above those levels. Among its peers, Google (GOOG) is closest at $365 billion, followed by Microsoft (MSFT) at $349 billion.

That $700 billion level is super great psychologically for investors. Still, I’m equally intrigued by another “first” that Apple disclosed on Tuesday: a $850 million agreement with First Solar (FSLR) to buy power directly from a massive solar plant in California. It’s the biggest deal of this nature (yet) that doesn’t involve a utility company in the middle.

Under the contract, Apple will buy almost all of the power produced by the 2,900-acre installation being built on property owned by Hearst. (Local utility Pacific Gas and Electric will buy the rest.) Overall, Apple’s portion of the installation will have a generating capacity of 130 megawatts, which is roughly the amount of power needed to run Apple’s corporate headquarters, and its entire California facility footprint. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-2015; it should be completed by the end of next year.

“We know in Apple that climate change is real,” Apple CEO Tim Cook told attendees at the Goldman Sachs technology conference in San Francisco. “The time for talk is passed. The time for action is now.”

To those who pooh-pooh Apple’s latest clean energy investment as a wonky corporate sustainability ploy: you’re entirely missing the point, and you can expect more of the same.

If you look behind the green aspects, the biggest benefit is simple and tangible. The 25-year contract provides Apple with a stable supply of electricity, at preordained prices. What CFO wouldn’t want that kind of visibility? It’s the same motivation powering Apple’s strategy to invest in on-site renewable energy technology in North Carolina, Las Vegas, and other locations. Yes, it helps that Apple has former EPA chief Lisa Jackson on staff to help, but it isn’t just a touch-feely thing.

Apple is far from alone: the likes of Amazon, eBay, Microsoft, Walmart, Hewlett-Packard, and Coca-Cola are clamoring for the right to buy more clean energy. Likewise, Google has invested more than $1.5 billion in various wind and solar projects—19 and counting, including two deals disclosed last month.

In fact, just about every tech company hoping to win big in cloud services is embracing the renewable energy mantra—a notable exception is IBM, which has been largely mum on procurement, although it loves talking about the energy efficiency of its data center technology.

There will be more deals like this Apple one, if for no other reason than big businesses are sick of waiting around for state and federal governments to get their act together.

This item first appeared in the Feb. 11 edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the business of technology. Sign up here.

Update Feb. 11, 2015: This article was updated to add more details about the facilities covered by the solar power.