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
Last week Vote Solar and our partners at SEIA released a report on the Top 20 corporate users of solar power in the U.S. Our Executive Director Adam Browning joined SEIA’s Rhone Resch and GM’s Head of Renewable Energy at a press conference to announce the findings at Solar Power International in Orlando. Those findings might surprise you . . .
The Top 20 in terms of the amount of on-site solar capacity installed are: Walmart, Costco, Kohl’s Department Stores, IKEA, Macy’s, McGraw-Hill, Johnson & Johnson, Staples, Inc., Campbell’s Soup, Walgreens, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Toys ‘R’ Us, General Motors, FedEx, White Rose Foods, Dow Jones, Snyder’s of Hanover, ProLogis, Hartz Mountain Industries, and Crayola. See the full report at www.seia.org/SolarTop20
“What do all of these major businesses have in common?” Browning asks. “They know a good deal when they see one, and so they are all going solar in a big way across the U.S.”
In fact, the Top 20 corporate solar users’ installations generate an estimated $47.3 million worth of electricity each year. The industry more than doubled the amount of solar installed in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year compared to 2011, and growth is expected to continue in the second half of 2012.
Other companies that are significant users of solar include Apple, Bloomberg LP, Del Monte Foods, GE, Google, Intel, JC Penny, Kaiser Permanente, Lackland Storage, Lord & Taylor, L’OREAL USA, MARS SNACKFOOD, US Foods LLC, Stop and Shop, Merck, REI, SAS Institute Inc., and Tiffany & CO.
“These companies know that solar energy allows them to reliably manage their long-term energy costs and in turn also helps to keep their customer prices low,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “Solar helps these top American companies focus on their core business by reducing overhead costs.”
Some of our other key findings from the report:
The amount of solar installed by the Top 20 solar-powered companies could power more than 46,500 average American homes. Altogether, U.S. commercial solar installations could power more than 390,000 American homes.
The companies analyzed for this report have deployed more than 700 individual solar photovoltaic (PV) systems on their facilities in at least 25 states and Puerto Rico.
More than 1.2 million solar PV panels were used for the Top 20 corporate solar users’ installations. Combined, these arrays would cover more than 544 acres of rooftops.
Walmart and Costco combined have more solar PV installed on their store rooftops than all of the PV capacity deployed in the state of Florida, the Sunshine State.
The top 10 companies (by capacity) have individually deployed more solar energy than most electric utilities in the U.S.
But don’t take it from us. Read what these smart businesses have to say about going solar:
“Walmart has an ambitious commitment to be powered entirely by renewable energy, and we’ve made significant progress toward this goal in recent years as renewable energy options, especially solar power, have become more affordable,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president for energy, Walmart. “We have plans to continue our investment in solar energy, expanding the number of locations powered by the sun, and we hope to use our scale to drive down prices for all renewable technologies.”
“General Motors has been investing in solar power for years, so being named among other companies with strong solar programs, like Walmart and IKEA, is validation that our initiatives are on the right track,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president, sustainability and global regulatory affairs. “But our focus on renewable energy doesn’t stop at the sun. By 2020, our goal is to promote the use of all forms of renewable energy by using 125 megawatts across our entire corporate footprint.”
“We are thrilled with the progress we have made towards installing solar panels atop 89 percent of our U.S. locations,” said Mike Ward, president, IKEA U.S. “We appreciate the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar Initiative for acknowledging our commitment to sustainability as represented by our investment in solar photovoltaic technology. It is flattering, yet humbling, to be recognized for helping contribute to the development, expansion and promotion of the U.S. solar industry, but we believe it is just part of being a good business while doing good business.”
“Not only do our solar locations provide an immediate cost savings to Kohl’s, they serve as examples of our environmental commitment in action. As a national retailer with more than 1,100 stores, we consistently challenge ourselves to find new ways to reduce the operational footprint of our facilities, to be more energy efficient, use fewer resources and be a good neighbor in the communities where we do business. It’s exciting when we are able to add solar panels to a store, because it becomes part of a shopper’s Kohl’s experience. Even if they can’t immediately see the solar panels on the roof – similar to how they might not see all of the characteristics that make a store ENERGY STAR-labeled or LEED-certified, they know Kohl’s is working to be a good environmental steward and to make responsible choices about how we operate our stores,” said John Worthington, Kohl’s chief administrative officer.
“We are proud to be a retail industry leader in hosting solar power, which is a critical element of our strategy for sustainability at Macy’s, Inc.,” said Bill Lyon, Macy’s vice president for energy management. “Solar power systems offer an affordable way for Macy’s to reduce operating costs and lower energy consumption by using clean, renewable solar power.”
“We are always exploring new and innovative ways to expand our use of environmentally-friendly technology to reduce our energy consumption,” said Mark Wagner, Walgreens president of operations and community management. “Walgreens is committed to the health and wellness of the communities we serve and to the sustainability of our planet. Our use of solar power nationwide is a great example of how businesses, communities and developers of green technologies can work together to help make a difference.”
“FedEx is dedicated to connecting the world more efficiently while minimizing our impact on the environment,” said Mitch Jackson, staff vice president, environmental affairs and sustainability, FedEx Corp. “Deploying solar technologies at our facilities helps us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operations while providing more sustainable options for our customers.”
“Investing in solar power confirms our commitment to environmental responsibility. Dow Jones wants to be one of the companies making a difference,” said Dean Del Vecchio, CIO of Dow Jones & Company. “Solar power is a renewable reminder that clean energy is possible and that responsible businesses can make it happen.”
“We see solar playing an increasingly important role in our energy mix. We will add several megawatts to our portfolio in the next couple of years,” said Curtis Ravenel, global head of sustainability at Bloomberg. “The environmental and financial benefits are attractive on multiple levels for us as a firm and we are actively pursuing other investment opportunities in the field.”
Here’s how the Top 20 by installed capacity stack up:
Vote Solar is a non-profit grassroots organization working to fight climate change and foster economic opportunity by bringing solar energy into the mainstream.
According to the report, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Vote Solar Initiative, more than 3,600 non-residential
Many retailers are not looking at “going green” as just a fad, but rather a new route for businesses to focus on. As consumers become much more aware and start taking on a “green attitude” in relation to the environment, numerous retailers are looking to meet those needs. Today, numerous retailers are
Watching baseball’s first quadruple play was strange. Seeing Wal-Mart go green is stranger still.
First the baseball: The scene was a game of T-Ball, where everyone bats every inning, regardless of the number of outs.
The bases were loaded when a line drive ended up in the glove of the pitcher. While he wondered how it got there, all the runners took off without tagging up. The pitcher ran to third, then second, then first.
We kept counting the number of outs and they did not add up. First in our heads: That doesn’t make sense. Then on our hand: That’s crazy. Then our other hand: It kept adding up to four outs.
It took us a while to believe what we saw right in front of us.
And now Wal-Mart, the original Black Hat, is going green. Or better said, sustainable. Let that sink in because it is true. Big time.
So much so that Treehugger.com says It “could end up being one of the biggest motivators to make truly ‘green’ products ever.”
As in history of the world.
Wal-Mart has made believers out of not just the biggest environmental organizations in the world — like the Environmental Defense Fund and the World Wildlife Federation — but also Wal-Mart’s suppliers.
Wal-Mart officials have vowed to cut the company’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 million metric tons by 2015, a sweeping strategy by the retail giant to reduce the carbon footprint of its network of suppliers and stores.
Company leaders say the cuts will more than offset the expected growth of its carbon emissions globally, and represent the equivalent of taking 3.8 million cars off the road.
Initially the company will target the suppliers and producers that emit the highest levels of carbon dioxide. Matt Kistler, senior vice president of sustainability, said initiatives will include cutting the CO2 emissions within the company’s massive transportation operation and reducing waste for fresh foods.