These Are the U.S. Companies With the Most Solar Power
Target is now the U.S. company that produces the most solar power at its facilities, beating out Walmart for the first time, according to a new report looking at corporate solar power usage in the United States.
Other companies with large installations of onsite solar panels include Prologis, Apple, Costco, Kohl’s, and IKEA, says a report released on Wednesday by the solar group the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The report, which tracks the largest onsite solar systems in the U.S., demonstrates how companies—from retailers to tech companies—are increasing turning to the sun to power buildings as the cost of solar panels has declined dramatically in recent years. But the report does not look at the amount of solar power that a company could buy from an offsite facility.
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This year was a big one for the solar industry, and almost 14 gigawatts worth of solar power installations are expected to be installed across the U.S. by the end of 2016. Fourteen gigawatts is enough solar energy to power 2.3 million homes, and is the equivalent of about 14 large natural gas or coal plants.
Over 70% of that is supposed to come from large sprawling solar panel farms (called “utility-scale solar”) built in remote regions, and selling power to utilities. In contrast, many of the corporate solar farms are installed on building rooftops.
These corporate solar installations tend to have slightly higher prices than the large utility-scale solar systems, and this sector hasn’t grown as quickly as utility-scale solar or solar panels for homes. But companies are still buying up solar panels in an effort to lower their energy bills, and to be more environmental.
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Target (TGT) installed almost 70 megawatts of solar panels in 2016 at its facilities. The company now has 147 megawatts of solar panels operating at 300 separate installations. Walmart (WMT) has 145 megawatts of solar panels at 364 different locations. The report says that every week 2% of the U.S. population visits a solar-powered Walmart.
Other smaller retailers with less real estate have maxed out, nearly or completely, their solar panel space. IKEA, for example, has installed solar panels at 90% of its facilities.