Our nation’s businesses are harnessing clean, reliable, homegrown solar power at an unprecedented rate to take control of their energy costs and improve their bottom line. We just released Solar Means Business, an annual report from Vote Solar and our partners at SEIA that identifies the companies that are leading America’s transition to solar power – and the list might surprise you!
Mainstream brands like Walmart, Costco, Kohl’s, Apple, IKEA and Macy’s rank among our nation’s top solar customers. Most of these companies are better known for delivering low-costs and for serving millions of Americans than for their equally impressive clean energy leadership. These titans of American business may have vastly different products and services, but they all have something in common: they know a good deal when they see one, and they are going solar in a big way.
Combined, the Top 25 companies by installed capacity have deployed more than 400-megawatts (MW) of solar at over 945 different locations. This is a significant increase from 2012, in which the top 25 companies had installed just over 300 MW at 730 facilities. Such year over year growth is all the more impressive given that several companies were already approaching saturation for their solar potential in 2012. IKEA, for example, had already installed solar at 79% of its stores when we published last year’s report. This year they’ve upped the ante even more with solar at a whopping 89% of their facilities.
The report also found an increase in the geographic diversity of commercial solar development, an indication that solar is increasingly cost-effective in more states. In total, the companies analyzed for his report have deployed systems in 30 states and Puerto Rico.
The growth shown in this report reflects growth in the overall U.S. commercial solar sector. In the 12 months since the first edition of Solar Means Business was released in 2012, U.S. businesses, non-profits and government organizations have blanketed their rooftops and properties with over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of new photovoltaic (PV) solar installations. As of mid-year 2013, cumulative commercial deployment totaled 3,380 MW at over 32,800 facilities throughout the country, an increase of over 40% over last year.
This tremendous solar growth in the U.S. commercial sector is driven by the bottom line. Solar allows businesses across many sizes and sectors to lower their energy expenditures and gain a competitive advantage. This clear business case has encouraged companies to expand their solar portfolios into new states and has encouraged more companies to explore solar as a cost-saving measure.
For years, the promise of solar was always ‘just around the corner.’ Well, solar has turned the corner, and found itself on Main Street, USA.
The complete Solar Means Business 2013 report and additional resources are available at: www.seia.org/solarmeansbiz
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.