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Solar Adoption by America’s Top Companies

The Solar Energy Industries Association publishes an annual report, Solar Means Business, which, in part, tracks the number of businesses utilizing solar energy. In the last decade, the adoption of solar energy as an alternative energy source has had a compound annual growth rate of more than 60%.  Some of the largest and most sophisticated brands in the world, such as Target and Walmart, are utilizing solar energy.

In each of the first 4 reports, from 2012-2015, Walmart was ranked first in terms of how many Megawatts (MW) were installed and the number of separate installations. In 2015, Walmart installed 105 megawatts of solar panels on the roofs of 327 stores and distribution centers, producing enough energy to power 20,000 homes. Walmart, considered to be one of the most progressive and thought-leading companies in the country, plans to double this number by 2020.  In addition to being cost effective, “going green” has produced great PR for Walmart, resulting in a positive perception of the brand among consumers that are environmentally focused. According to the 2016 report, 7.3 million people, or roughly 2% of the U.S. population, visits a solar-powered Walmart every week.

In 2016, the 5th edition of the report revealed how widely the use of solar energy had expanded. When Solar Means Business 2016 was released, a new corporation emerged as a leader in solar adoption: Target. Target installed 147.5 MW in 2016, with Walmart close behind at 145 MW. Target’s website states that they are honored to be named the top corporate solar installer in the U.S. and they aim to add rooftop solar panels to 500 stores by 2020.

Target and Walmart are the two leading corporations in terms of solar adoption, but there are plenty of other big name corporations following their lead. Apple’s solar facilities produce enough electricity to fully charge more than 39 million iPhones every day for a year.  Macy’s has installed enough solar panels to completely cover the footprint of 17 of their stores. 91% of IKEA’s U.S. stores are powered by solar energy.  Along with those businesses, Costco, Kohl’s, Verizon, Walgreens, Staples and many more are on the rise when it comes to utilizing solar energy. Not only are these businesses producing thousands of jobs in the solar industry, they are helping reduce the amount of fossil fuels in our environment.  The overall amount of solar energy being utilized is the equivalent to the electricity needed to power 193,000 homes, eliminating 1.1 million metric tons of CO2 emissions each year.

Helping to reduce global warming and the positive PR implications are two primary reasons business use solar energy, but the cost benefits are an important factor as well. In fact, the costs of installing solar energy continues to decline.  The more businesses switch to solar power, the more cost-efficient their businesses become. According to SEIA, it was 14 percent less expensive to install residential and commercial solar systems in 2016, than it was in 2011. The bottom line is sophisticated businesses are choosing solar energy solutions for all the right reasons.  If you want to learn more, contact SolarWerks, the premier solar energy company in the Midwest.
“Solar Means Business 2016.” SEIA. N.p., 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2017.

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