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Who’s Going Solar? 20 of the US’ Largest Companies (New List: Top 20 Commercial Solar Users)

The top commercial solar users in the US have been revealed by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar. They were revealed yesterday at Solar Power International 2012 in Orlando.

The companies are simply ranked by ranked by cumulative solar energy capacity. I’m a much bigger fan of relative rankings — they do a better job of showing who’s really invested. But I think this list is better than nothing at all, so let’s take a look at it.

The Top 20 companies (in terms of on-site solar capacity deployed) are:

  1. Walmart
  2. Costco
  3. Kohl’s Department Stores
  4. IKEA
  5. Macy’s
  6. McGraw-Hill
  7. Johnson & Johnson
  8. Staples, Inc.
  9. Campbell’s Soup
  10. Walgreens
  11. Bed, Bath & Beyond
  12. Toys ‘R’ Us
  13. General Motors
  14. FedEx
  15. White Rose Foods
  16. Dow Jones
  17. Snyder’s of Hanover
  18. ProLogis
  19. Hartz Mountain Industries
  20. Crayola

As you can see, we’ve covered some of the big boys over the years.

“The data at left demonstrates the percentage of U.S. company stores with solar for a few notable companies. It is not a full ranking, rather a comparison between some of the top solar users that were already part of this report’s analysis. It should be noted that smaller companies could well have solar at all of their company locations or could even be net exporters to the grid, meaning companies generate more solar energy onsite than is consumed by their facility.”

“Combined, the Top 20 corporate solar users’ installations generate an estimated $47.3 million worth of electricity each year,” SEIA and Vote Solar write.  That’s enough for about 46,500 average US homes. And, in total, all commercial solar installations in the US could power 390,000 American homes.

“Altogether, U.S. commercial solar installations have reduced business’ utility bills by hundreds of millions of dollars annually.”

Other solar leaders that didn’t make the top 20 include:

“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.”

Noted Adam Browning, executive director of Vote Solar, “What do all of these major businesses have in common? They know a good deal when they see one, and so they are all going solar in a big way across the U.S.”

Of course, the above companies are not done with solar — they’re just getting started. They typically have long-term energy plans that involve a lot more solar than they have on their facilities today.

Some more big stats from the news release:

  • “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.”

With over 100,000 US solar employees at about 5,600 solar companies, it’s clear solar power is an important industry today. And more than twice as much solar was installed in Q2 2012 than Q2 2011 in the US.

For a ton of quotes from the companies listed above, check out the SEIA & Vote Solar news release.

Check out the full report on SEIA’s site.

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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