Solar energy is moving up in the world and solar panels and systems are coming down in price. This puts solar well within the range of business use with its cost lowering value, its “green” reputation, and now, a verifiable business advantage. With electricity costs eating the biggest share of operating expenses, anything that tames the appetite of the utility will make a big impact.
Solar deployment has been embraced by a number of well-known large and small companies. These businesses continue to demonstrate the advantages of solar power and are prepared to invest in it further.
Solar Deployment Measuring Sticks
The Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar initiative recently released a report tallying the top companies using solar by a variety of metrics:
- Solar capacity
- Number of systems
- Percentage of stores with solar deployed
- Geographic diversity
You will instantly recognize the companies that top the lists.
Who’s Doing the Most Solar?
In most instances, Walmart is the giant of the solar energy game. At the time of the 2013 Solar Means Business report, Walmart had installed 89.43MW of solar capacity. To put this in perspective, the second largest on the list, Costco, only had 47.06MW installed.
IKEA tops the percentage of stores installed with 79% of their stores sporting solar energy use. However, this metric can be somewhat misleading, based as it is on the sheer number of existing stores. There are many more Walmarts than IKEAs.
However, IKEA also tops the list of number of states in the U.S. where solar has been deployed; IKEA has adopted solar energy in 16 states where Walmart has only installed it in 7, less than half of IKEA. But this likely reflects IKEA’s more recent introduction to the U.S. marketplace, where Walmart has existed for decades.
Other Solar Winners
The solar investment of the top 25 companies in the report represents over 445MW of energy generation at 950 locations; enough to power over 73,000 homes. The top 10 companies in capacity installed includes:
- Johnson & Johnson
- McGraw Hill
Notice this list spans major retailers, a pharmaceutical and cleaning products giant, and a publisher. All of these businesses have looked at the data and embraced solar power as a way to decrease operating costs and increase profit margins. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a reputation for being “green.”
The list is full of large companies but they are not the only businesses that can afford to invest in solar. In fact, due to their own solar use, they have helped it become financially feasible for many more businesses of all sizes to afford to do the same.