Big-Box Retail Stores in U.S. Lead Surge in Solar Power Installations


A growing number of major U.S. companies, led by the nation’s largest big-box retailers, are installing rooftop solar power systems to help cut energy costs and increase profits, a new report says.

According to the report, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Vote Solar Initiative, more than 3,600 non-residential systems were activated in the U.S. during the first half of 2012, led by retail giants such as Walmart, Costco, and Kohl’s department stores, all of which have sharply increased their solar power installations in recent months.

Among the top 20 U.S. companies by solar capacity, almost half are big-box retailers, according to the report. “Five or six years ago, you probably would have read about a pledge in an annual report about what they’re doing for the environment,” Rhone Resch, SEIA’s chief executive, told the New York Times. “Now what you’re seeing is it’s a smart investment that they’re making for their shareholders, and this is a standard business practice.”

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

About Author

Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.


  1. a megawatt translates like this…..

    panel….24 sq ft…..


    per sq ft….10

    football field…48,000 sq ft

    1/2 mw per fb field

    so, 1 mw needs 2 football fields of space.

    2 football fields measures 320×300 or 160×600

    This may help figure how much power a large store can produce.

  2. Solar panel installations are part of a bigger movement of US corporations spending more on sustainability improvements. I think Solar is one of the most obvious and possibly effective ways for corporations to show they are taking action and see the benefits in their monthly bills. So far, it is a win win.

    See this article and report from the MIT Sloan school of business for more information