Big retailers, major companies embrace on-site solar

Famous retailers dominate a list of companies that have deployed a massive amount of solar power on their commercial sites.

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Vote Solar Initiative (Vote Solar) on Sept. 12 released a report naming the companies using solar in their facilities in the U.S., ranked by cumulative solar energy capacity. The Top 20 (in terms of on-site solar capacity deployed) 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:

Combined, the Top 20 corporate solar users’ installations generate an estimated $47.3m worth of electricity each year, the groups said in a statement.

The report goes beyond overall capacity. Solar use is quantified by number of operating solar power systems, percentage of facilities outfitted with solar, and the geographic diversity of the installations.   “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 CEO Rhone Resch. “Solar helps these top American companies focus on their core business by reducing overhead costs.

“General Motors has been investing in solar power for years, so being named among other companies with strong solar programs, like Wal-Mart 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.”

Other findings include:


  • The Top 20 corporate solar users’ installations generate an estimated $47.3m worth of electricity each year. Altogether, U.S. commercial solar installations have reduced business’ utility bills by hundreds of millions of dollars annually.


  • 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 1.2m 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.