The top five corporate solar users in America, according to the research that tracks and analyzes commercial solar adoption, are Meta, Amazon, Apple, Walmart, and Microsoft.
Nearly 19 gigawatts (GW) of on-site and off-site solar capacity have been installed by American enterprises through June 2022, more than double the 9.4 GW added in 2019. This recent expansion is the result of off-site corporate solar procurement, which has quickly increased and now accounts for 55% of all commercial solar consumption.
“About half of all corporate solar has been installed in the last two and half years,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper. “Solar Means Business highlights the incredible flexibility of solar, whether it’s installed on a warehouse roof, on a carport, or at an off-site facility, showing the various ways that companies are meeting their needs with clean, affordable energy. From data centers to industrial freezers, the most energy-intensive business operations are turning to solar as the most reliable and affordable way to power their infrastructure.”
Meta currently has the largest corporate solar portfolio in the US after a sharp growth in installed solar capacity from 177 megawatts (MW) in early 2019 to 3.6 GW today. Target continues to be the leading corporate user of solar energy on-site, but Microsoft has jumped into the top 10 thanks to the addition of 479 MW of new capacity since 2019.
“We are proud of the work we have done to add new solar energy to the grid, bringing additional investment to rural areas and helping support the transition to renewables,” said Urvi Parekh, Head of Renewable Energy at Meta. “As we continue to fulfill our goal to support our global operations with 100% renewable energy, we look forward to working with others, including SEIA, to facilitate the energy transition and support a sustainable, affordable, and reliable electricity grid.”
Walmart has been in the top 5 for the past ten years thanks to its varied array of on- and off-site solar.
“Solar energy is a key part of Walmart’s commitment to becoming a regenerative company, powered by 100% renewable energy by 2035,” said Vishal Kapadia, senior vice president, of energy transformation at Walmart. “Our onsite and offsite solar projects have helped us deliver strong progress toward our goal, with 46% of our global electricity needs supplied by renewable energy as of 2021.”
Solar energy is being used in data center facilities by companies like Intel, Google, Switch, and Digital Realty to power vital information and data infrastructure. Additionally, the top 25 corporate solar users include household names like Home Depot and T-Mobile as well as industry leaders in the food and beverage, healthcare, and pharmaceutical industries like Kaiser Permanente and Starbucks.
“We are honored to be recognized for our on-site solar generation efforts,” said Susan Uthayakumar, Chief Energy and Sustainability Officer at Prologis. “This is only the beginning as we work toward our goal of 1 gigawatt of solar by 2025. We’ve long been an industry leader in solar. It’s an area we have and continue to invest in for two reasons — it makes good business sense, and it is good for the planet.”
The number of American businesses with at least 100 MW of solar capacity installed has increased from 11 in 2019 to 23 in 2019. In this study, the top 25 corporate solar users are ranked, and 18 of them have carbon-neutral or 100% renewable energy targets.
The detailed report covers more than 47,000 corporate solar installations around the country, which together produce enough electricity to power 3.2 million homes and has a yearly offset of 20.4 million metric tons of carbon.
“As the world’s largest temperature-controlled industrial REIT and logistics solutions provider, Lineage Logistics has dedicated itself to limiting our impact on the environment as we play a crucial role in the global food supply chain,” said Chris Thurston, Director of Energy and Sustainability at Lineage Logistics. “As we live out our purpose of eliminating food waste and helping to feed the world, we are proud of our team’s efforts to do so in a way that will have a positive impact on our planet. Our hope is that the findings from the Solar Means Business report motivate other companies to adopt solar energy usage and join the effort of ensuring future generations will have a cleaner, healthier planet.”
Additionally, the study now keeps track of projects that combine commercial solar energy with battery storage, which is especially beneficial for companies that offer key services or that provide essential information or data infrastructure.
Nearly 27 GW of off-site corporate solar projects is planned to be online by 2025, more than doubling the total amount of commercial solar installations over the past three years. This amounts to over a third of the entire solar pipeline that has been contracted.
Notably, as was previously reported, in 2020 the International Energy Agency pronounced solar power to be the cheapest source of electricity in history. Electricity costs represent the single-largest operating expense for most companies, Solar installation costs have decreased by 60% in the past ten years, but over the past 18 months, expenses have increased due to supply chain issues and rising labor costs. Despite this, business demand for solar and becoming carbon neutral is still on the rise.
Businesses invest in solar for a variety of reasons, including to power their operations, achieve environmental goals, or just reduce their electricity costs. The businesses the report tracked are setting the standard.
These businesses use solar to advance their operations, whether it is for manufacturing, retail and product distribution, or data centers and computing. Solar is the logical choice for many companies as they are using it to move their operations forward.
The top 25 corporate solar users in 2022 include:
- Kaiser Permanente
- AB Inbev
- Evraz North America
- Digital Realty
- Home Depot
- Fifth Third Bank
- Lineage Logistics
- L3Harris Technologies
To download the full report, view the interactive charts, and explore the report’s underlying data, visit www.SolarMeansBusiness.com.
Image credit: Amazon
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