Retail Giants are Top Solar Users

Brian Hicks

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted October 8, 2012

The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently published a report demonstrating that 42 companies at over 750 locations have installed more than 320 megawatts of photovoltaic electrical capacity.

This marks a shift in the solar sector, with major domestic companies bringing on solar power to cut costs. The top 20 companies account for almost 280,000 kilowatts of solar power generating capacity, or about $47 million in electricity annually, with over 1.2 million solar panels.

It also means many hundreds of millions of dollars in utility bill reductions for these businesses. The total installed capacity can power around 50,000 households.

Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Costco (NASDAQ: COST), for example, have more rooftop solar capacity installed than the whole state of Florida. What’s interesting is that this isn’t just a trend; rather, it is a cost-effective measure that also provides some insurance against blackouts.

Walmart’s 144 solar systems provide a capacity of 65,000 kW. Back in September, it installed a 3.3 MW project in Buckeye, Ariz.

Costco has around 62 systems offering 38,900 kW spread across five states; Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) has 124 systems generating 36,474 kW.

Kohl’s has been using 100 percent renewable energy to meet power needs for the past several years. It hopes to have 200 solar systems on retail rooftops by 2015.

IKEA also showcases solar power in roughly 80 percent of its U.S. stores, with around 21,495 kW in capacity. And, unlike Kohl’s, IKEA is not bothering to purchase renewable energy credits in its ‘green’ effort; they’re just doing the real thing.

The top ten companies are:

  1. Walmart (NYSE: WMT)

  2. Costco (NASDAQ: COST)

  3. Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS)

  4. IKEA

  5. Macy’s (NYSE: M)

  6. McGraw Hill (NYSE: MHP)

  7. Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)

  8. Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLS)

  9. Campbell’s Soup (NYSE: CPB)

  10. Walgreens (NYSE: WAG)

The full report can be found here.

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