WASHINGTON — Growth in the use of solar energy has surged 183 percent among America’s top companies in the four years since the first Solar Means Business report was published. The study released today by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) also shows a 59 percent growth in solar installations since just last year.
For the fourth year in a row, Walmart 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 their 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,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “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.”
“Solar is an important part of our renewable energy program,” said Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy for Walmart. “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. We’re excited about our continued work towards meeting that goal and appreciate being acknowledged by SEIA for these efforts.”
The report notes that growth in corporate solar adoption is no longer limited to traditional solar markets, but 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. Representing a “Who’s Who” of the corporate world, these companies are playing an increasingly important role in the development, expansion and promotion of solar nationwide, while also reducing their operating expenses, benefiting customers and shareholders alike.
“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,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy. “As a result, we regained our ranking as the top automotive user of solar in the U.S.”
“Over the last decade, L’Oreal USA has been persistent in improving our environmental performance through innovative sustainability solutions,” said Jonathan Maher, Vice President of CSR & Sustainability at L’Oreal USA. “SEIA’s efforts to promote solar energy usage align with our approach to examine every opportunity to increase our solar output, as shown in the latest Solar Means Business ranking. Our significant solar capabilities and energy efficiency achievements are thanks to our dedicated employees and facilities, who continue to infuse social and environmental sustainability into every aspect of L’Oréal’s business.”
“FedEx is committed to connecting the world responsibly and resourcefully,” said Mitch Jackson, vice president of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability, FedEx Corporation. “This includes minimizing impacts on the environment with our 15 solar installations, helping us avoid more than 4,600 metric tons of CO2 emissions in FY15, reducing our environmental footprint.”
“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,” said Marty Sedler, director of Global Utilities and Infrastructure at Intel Corporation. “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.”
Celebrating its 41st anniversary in 2015, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy.