Shoppers at big-name brands like Walmart, Macy's and Staples probably aren't aware that solar keeps the lights on, but more often it is.
This year, corporate leaders on solar added over 445 megawatts (MW) on 1000 buildings in 30 states, 48% more than a year ago.
Walmart and Costco alone have more solar PV installed on store rooftops than the entire solar capacity of the state of Florida.
With 89 MW on 215 buildings, Walmart still leads. It is followed by Costco, Kohl's, Apple, IKEA, Macy's, Johnson & Johnson, McGraw Hill, Staples, Campbell Soup, U.S. Foods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kaiser Permanente, Volkswagen, Walgreens, Target, Safeway, FedEx, Intel, L'OREAL, General Motors, Toys "R" Us, White Rose Foods, Toyota, and Dow Jones & Company.
"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. These companies - titans of American business - may have vastly different products, business models, and geographic locations, 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," says Adam Browning, Executive Director of Vote Solar, which annually ranks corporations with Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
When all commercial solar is included - corporations, nonprofits and government - there are 3.38 gigawatts deployed at 32,800 facilities across the US as of Q2 2013.
The average price of a commercial PV project is down 30% since the beginning of the 2011. Combine that with the fact that electricity costs are companies' single largest operating expense and financing models that reduce or eliminate up-front costs and you can see why companies are interested. In a growing number of markets, companies can either generate or purchase solar energy at or below local retail electricity rates, saving businesses money from "Day 1," says the report.
Here is the Solar Means Business report: