According to new data published by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) in its annual Solar Means Business report, major corporations in the tech and retailing industry made significant investments in clean energy throughout 2019 having installed over 1,280 megawatts (MW) of new commercial solar capacity in the United States.
The report, which tracks both on-site and off-site installations and highlights the strong appeal of cost-saving solar energy for American businesses, shows that Apple and Amazon remain in first and second place when it comes to the top corporate solar users, followed by Walmart, which installed the most solar in 2019 and increased its solar use by 35%. This year was also the largest year yet for onsite commercial solar installations with 845 MW installed.
The top 25 corporate solar users by total installed solar capacity throughout 2019 include:
6. Kaiser Permanente
|11. Fifth Third Bank|
13. Brookfield Properties Retail
17. Costco Wholesale
|21. Home Depot|
22. Hartz Mountain
23. Lockheed Martin
24. Digital Realty
Apple, which had the most off-site solar installed through 2019, now has nearly 400 MW of solar capacity in its portfolio and has recently committed to making its supply chain and products 100% carbon neutral by 2030. Facebook, one of the top buyers of off-site solar is making its first appearance in the top 10 and made the biggest leap forward, jumping from 27th to 9th on the top corporate solar users list. Target, the company with the most solar capacity installed at its facilities, finished 2019 with a total of 283 MW of solar capacity and it now has more than 500 solar projects in its portfolio.
Several corporations on this list recently announced more aggressive clean energy goals, including Google, which is ranked 5th and now plans to run its data centers and corporate campuses on 100% carbon-free power by 2030. Walmart also announced that it plans to power its facilities globally with 100 % renewable energy by 2035 and is targeting zero emissions across its global operations by 2040.
Growth of Commercial Solar Installations
This report which tracks more than 8,350 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity across 38,000 projects in 43 states, representing more than 70% of all commercial solar capacity installed in the U.S., shows that corporate solar adoption has expanded rapidly over the past several years, with two thirds of all capacity installed since 2015. The 1,286 MW installed in 2019 represents a 10% increase from 2018. The systems tracked in this report generate enough electricity each year to power 1.6 million U.S. homes.
The rapid decline in the price to install solar has been the primary driver of recent commercial solar growth. Based on the data collected for this report, the price to install an on-site commercial system has dropped by 69% over the past decade and by 30% over the last 5 years. Similar price declines are seen across all system sizes.
SEIA estimates that over the next few years, an additional 5 GW of corporate off-site solar projects are slated to come online, which will more than double the total amount of off-site corporate solar.
Source: Press release by Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Photo credit: © Apple. Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.