Use of solar energy among America’s top companies has increased 183 percent over the last four years, including 59 percent since last year, a study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) shows.
For the fourth year in a row, Walmart is ranked No. 1 in the Solar Means Business report, which identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks top corporate solar users. The big-box retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., boasts a robust 142 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity at 348 locations.
Other top companies recognized for both amount of solar capacity and number of solar installations include Kohl’s, Apple, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, IKEA, Prologis, FedEx, Intel, General Motors, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Bed Bath & Beyond, Safeway, Hartz Mountain, Staples, L’Oreal, Kaiser Permanente, and Toyota.
“These blue-chip companies have realized investing in solar is a common-sense, cost-effective decision that pays dividends for both the environment and their bottom lines,” SEIA President and Chief Executive Officer Rhone Resch said. “Not only are they helping to create thousands of American jobs in solar, the nearly 1,700 systems currently in operation are generating enough clean, reliable electricity to offset nearly 890,000 metric tons of harmful carbon emissions a year.”
Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy for Walmart, said: "Solar is an important part of our renewable-energy program. We believe in advancing solar deployment by pursuing projects that make business sense. In fact, in 2014, we committed to doubling the number of on-site solar-energy projects at our U.S. stores, Sam’s Clubs, and distribution centers by 2020."
The report notes growth in corporate solar adoption no longer is limited to traditional solar markets and that, “Solar is a smart business decision wherever your business may be.”
Combined, America’s top corporate solar users installed 1,686 systems totaling 907 MW of solar.
“Prioritizing renewable-energy options like solar power at our facilities not only helps us reduce our spending on traditional energy, but also reduces business risk and our impact on climate change,” Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy, said. “As a result, we regained our ranking as the top automotive user of solar in the U.S.”
According to Mitch Jackson, vice president of environmental affairs and sustainability for FedEx, the company's 15 solar installations helped it to avoid more than 4,600 metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions in FY15.
“Solar energy is an integral part of Intel’s renewable-energy portfolio, and we are committed to embracing, evaluating, and implementing new projects and innovative learnings around the world,” Marty Sedler, director of global utilities and infrastructure for Intel Corp., said. “Solar will continue to be a core part of our alternative energy solution because it provides leadership, helps spur the market, makes renewables more accessible, and reduces the overall carbon emissions from electricity generation directly used for our facilities.”
To read the report, go to www.seia.org/solarmeansbiz.