Solar Power Gets Down to Business

, Senior energy analyst | September 18, 2012, 12:53 pm EDT
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What’s your first impression when you walk into a Walmart store? I’d bet you would hone in on the Halloween bags of M&Ms on sale and not the solar panels on the roof. And yet, 144 Walmart stores across the country have gone solar, lighting the aisles for more 12 million Americans each month with clean energy.

Solar tops a Macy’s in Irvine, CA. Photo credit: Flickr/woolennium

Last week, The Vote Solar Initiative and the Solar Energy Industries Association co-released a report that identifies the 20 largest corporate solar users.

Walmart is joined by other major companies such as Costo, Macy’s, IKEA, and Staples. To see more evidence of your favorite store going solar, click on this photo gallery.

These businesses, known for their low prices, are not just investing in clean energy to make a statement. They are doing it because it saves them money.

The solar systems installed by these companies generate approximately $47 million worth of electricity each year that they would likely otherwise purchase from an electric utility. And these are savings that can be passed on to us consumers. According to the report, the average price of an installed commercial solar PV system dropped by nearly 14 percent from 2011 to 2012.


What’s more, these investments aren’t just happening in states known for their abundant sunshine. Many companies have invested in states ranging from Massachusetts to Michigan. The report’s website contains an interactive map where you can see which companies are going solar near you.

For me, this report is a validation that Corporate America is taking renewable energy seriously and allowing its customers to take part in the clean energy transformation. It’s certainty another incentive for me to buy that jumbo bag of M&M’s (as if I needed another reason).

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