Tech giants, major retailers and other corporate leaders are making significant investments in clean energy and have installed 1,286 MW of new commercial solar capacity in the U.S. in 2019, the second-largest year on record according to the latest Solar Means Business report.
The annual report, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), tracks both on-site and off-site installations and highlights the strong appeal of cost-saving solar energy for U.S. businesses.
“The world’s most recognizable brands are walking the walk when it comes to their clean energy commitments,” says Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “Businesses are choosing solar energy because it can significantly curb their energy costs and add predictability during these uncertain times. We expect that the corporate sector will make greater investments in solar as businesses make and follow through on clean energy commitments to address the climate crisis.”
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. Apple, which has the most off-site solar installed through 2019, now has nearly 400 MW of solar capacity in its portfolio and has recently committed to make 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. The company now has more than 500 solar projects in its portfolio.
The report tracks over 8,350 MW of commercial solar capacity across more than 38,000 systems. For perspective, each week more than 7.2 million people, or 2.2% of the U.S. population, shop at a Walmart store with a solar installation.
Corporations continue to procure off-site solar to power their operations and meet their ambitious clean energy goals. 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.
Companies are also doubling down on their clean energy commitments. 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.
To access the full list of the top 25 corporate solar users, click here.