• John M Brogan

Mega-Generation in Commercial Solar

7.3 million Americans shop at a solar powered Walmart every week. Apple’s solar capacity produces enough electricity to charge 39 million iPhones daily for an entire year. 40 of Ikea’s 44 US stores are solar powered. America’s top corporations are recognizing the positive impact of solar on their bottom line; solar slashes energy costs and grants energy independence.


Solar is no longer exclusively an environmental investment, solar energy is a business investment that can yield huge savings for companies. Top corporations and small businesses alike are taking the leap and installing solar on their roofs, and the Solar Energy Industries Association has been tracking corporate solar growth every step of the way.


Solar Means Business Report

The SEIA’s Solar Means Business report recognizes the corporations with the highest solar capacity, and provides a data-driven examination of solar for business. The top 25 corporate solar installers alone account for 1,092 megawatts of energy, and have installed almost 2,000 individual solar systems. The solar installations on US businesses are enough to power 193,000 homes. These staggering numbers illustrate solar’s viability now and in the future for businesses who are looking to cut costs. Below we highlight the top 10 corporate solar installers based on the total solar capacity of their US locations at the time of the Solar Means Business Report.


The Top Ten

10. Hartz Mountain Industries: 22.7 Megawatts, 24 Installations

This real estate firm operates in New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area, and is actually the largest holder of commercial rooftop solar systems in New Jersey. “Solar power represents both a means to be kinder to the earth by reducing pollution and is a significant factor in reducing our operational expenses,” states COO Emanuel Stern.


9. General Growth Properties: 30.2 Megawatts, 33 installations

This Chicago-based real estate group manages shopping malls nationwide, and has an increasing appetite for solar. In 2016 alone, GGP reduced its carbon footprint by 25,600 metric tons, the equivalent of removing about 19,000 cars from US roads.


8. Macy’s: 38.9 Megawatts, 71 Installations

Macy’s department store chain now has 102 solar installations, and intends to continue installing solar as well as reducing its electricity usage per square foot by 2% annually for the next three years.


7. IKEA: 44.0 Megawatts, 44 Installations

This massive furniture retailer is aiming for energy independence by 2020, meaning that it will produce all of its own electricity, certainly an admirable and achievable goal.


6. Kohl’s: 50.2 Megawatts, 158 Installations

Kohl’s largest solar array is on a store in Edgewood, Maryland, and this system alone generates enough electricity to power 317 homes for an entire year. Today, 19,000 Americans work at a solar-powered Kohl’s location.


5. Costco: 50.7 Megawatts, 85 Installations

Costco, America’s largest wholesale club, now has installations in 12 states and plans to continue adding more in the future. Additionally, some locations have added solar powered carports over their parking lots providing electricity for the building and a charging station for electric vehicles.


4. Apple: 93.9 Megawatts, 4 Installations

Apple is committed to decreasing carbon emissions and has decreased emissions per product every year since 2011. In fact, 96% of apple's electricity comes from renewable sources including solar.


3. Prologis: 107.8 Megawatts, 49 Installations

Prologis is the largest industrial real estate company in the world, and it owns 3,322 logistics and distribution centers worldwide. Worldwide, Prologis has 165 Megawatts of solar capacity, an impressive figure.

2. Walmart: 145.0 Megawatts, 364 Installations

Walmart is the largest employer in the US, employing over 2 million people. Additionally, 2% of the US population shops at a solar powered Walmart every week. It is hard to overstate Walmart’s reach in the American economy, and it is encouraging to see such a large corporation going solar.


1. Target: 147.5 Megawatts, 300 Installations

“At Target, sustainability is a principle that drives the decisions we make across the company – from the products we make to the way we run our business. We’re incredibly proud of the progress we’ve made in improving building efficiencies and reducing environmental impact. Our commitment to installing solar panels on 500 stores and distribution centers by 2020 is evidence of that progress,” remarks John Leisen, VP of Property Management at Target.


Corporate solar installations are booming; since 2012, the top US solar installers have increased their solar capacity by 240%. SEIA president Tom Kimbis commends the industry-leaders on the list, saying, “These blue-chip companies are proof that sustainability and profitability is not an either-or proposition. Investing in solar is a common-sense decision that pays dividends for both the environment and companies’ bottom lines and these leaders deserve a big round of applause.”


Commercial Solar in Ohio

Commercial solar is not only growing on a national scale; many small businesses are taking the leap to install solar on their buildings in an effort to slash energy costs. Here at Better Together, we recently installed a solar array on Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland, a regional craft brewery. Since installation, they have brewed 7,139 cases of beer (and counting) using solar energy, and they continue to be very happy with their system. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo also had us install a 96-panel array on the Zoo’s carousel, a great investment from both a business and an environmental standpoint. Vitamix is another company that uses solar on their Cleveland location and Better Together has proudly been taking care of the system for years. These are just three examples of commercial solar installations on a regional scale; many small Ohio businesses are taking the leap and installing solar on their businesses. Solar will continue to be a viable option for businesses of all sizes due to its saving power and ability to provide energy independence, and it will certainly play a role in the business world in the future.


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