Originally posted in Walmart Green Room.
As the world’s largest retailer and biggest private employer, Walmart commands attention from Wall Street to Main Street. But it’s not what’s happening inside Walmart stores making news this week – it’s what’s happening on top of them.
The annual Solar Means Business Report, which identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks America’s top 25 corporate solar users, was just released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar. According to the report, Walmart is America’s commercial solar leader for the second year in a row with 89 megawatts (MW) installed at 215 locations.
The 25 companies in the report have deployed 445 MW of solar capacity – a whopping 48 percent increase over a year ago. Collectively, they’re playing an increasingly important role in the development, expansion and promotion of solar nationwide, while also reducing their operating expenses, benefiting customers and shareholders alike.
Today, the list of companies moving to clean, affordable solar energy reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the most successful corporations in America. Simply put, these iconic brands – from Walmart to Apple to General Motors – are leading the way when it comes to efforts to transition to clean, renewable energy. By doing so, they’re also helping to create thousands of American jobs, boost the U.S. economy and improve our environment.
Solar growth among these Fortune 100 companies reflects the growth in the U.S. commercial solar sector as a whole. Through the first half of this year, cumulative commercial solar deployment totaled 3,380 MW at 32,800 facilities throughout the country.
For its part, Walmart announced this year that it would ramp up construction of new clean energy projects nationwide, including an expanded use of solar. This “lead-by-example” approach will not only benefit the company’s 2 million employees and 150 million shoppers, but it will also significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help the U.S. economy and stimulate American innovation. It’s a win-win for everyone.
But the growth of solar in the United States isn’t limited to commercial businesses – it’s spread across all sectors. Today, there are nearly 40 utility-scale, clean energy solar projects under construction in the U.S. – utilizing both PV and CSP technologies – putting thousands of electricians, steelworkers and laborers to work, while helping reduce carbon emissions from power plants.
In addition, innovative solar heating and cooling systems are offering American consumers cost-efficient, effective options for meeting their energy needs, while lowering their utility bills. In fact, another new report prepared for SEIA outlines an aggressive plan to install 100 million SHC panels in the United States by 2050. This action alone would create 50,250 new American jobs and save more than $61 billion in future energy costs.
Meanwhile, a new market analysis by SEIA and GTM Research shows the U.S. installed 832 MW of new PV capacity in the second quarter of this year – a healthy 15 percent increase over the first three months of 2013. Even more impressively, the U.S. residential solar market has grown by almost 50 percent over Q2 2012.
What’s spurring this growth? For one thing, solar energy is now more affordable than ever. Average PV system prices have declined by more than 40 percent since the beginning of 2011, while average module prices have declined by more than 60 percent over the same time period.
Today, top brand name companies in the United States are listening to what Americans want and taking decisive action. SEIA congratulates Walmart for leading the way!
Rhone Resch, SEIA President and CEO