Last week, the Solar Energy Industries Association announced the Top 20 Commercial Solar Users in the U.S. and you may find the number of big businesses who have turned to renewable energy somewhat surprising. Not only because they’re using solar power, but because of how much energy they’re producing.
Solar power energy is being deployed on a massive scale by the most iconic brands and best-managed companies in the U.S. in order to help lower operating costs and increase profits. I’d like to say that they’ve all switched to solar due to their environmental conscience, and although that’s part of the reason, I suspect it’s mostly a financial decision.
Lets have a look at what some of the businesses are say, starting with the leader, Walmart:
“Walmart has an ambitious commitment to be powered entirely by renewable energy, and we’ve made significant progress toward this goal in recent years as renewable energy options, especially solar power, have become more affordable,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president for energy, Walmart. “We have plans to continue our investment in solar energy, expanding the number of locations powered by the sun, and we hope to use our scale to drive down prices for all renewable technologies.”
And General Motors:
“General Motors has been investing in solar power for years, so being named among other companies with strong solar programs, like Walmart and IKEA, is validation that our initiatives are on the right track,” said Mike Robinson, GM vice president, sustainability and global regulatory affairs. “But our focus on renewable energy doesn’t stop at the sun. By 2020, our goal is to promote the use of all forms of renewable energy by using 125 megawatts across our entire corporate footprint.”
The facts from the reports speak for themselves really. The Top 20 corporate solar users’ installations generate an estimated $47.3 million worth of electricity each year. Altogether, U.S. commercial solar installations have reduced business’ utility bills by hundreds of millions of dollars annually and if they weren’t being used commercially, they could power more than 390,000 American homes.
More than 1.2 million solar PV panels were used for the Top 20 corporate solar users’ installations, and Walmart and Costco combined have more solar PV installed on their store rooftops, than all of the PV capacity deployed in the state of Florida, the Sunshine State.
Businesses as well as other large energy consumers like non‐profits, schools and public agencies are expected to add 7,000 megawatts (that’s 7 million kW) of additional PV systems over the next five years. That’s enough to replace seven retiring coal power plants.
You can read the full press release from the SEIA here.
Some of the biggest companies in the world have seen Solar PV as a smart investment, and it’s refreshing to see that the consequences of this investment have been so positive.
Even Apple have been getting in on the game. They’re currently building a mammoth 20 Megawatt solar farm, which spans over 100 acres, to help power their new data center. When it’s finished, it will place the company 5th on the Top 20 list of commercial solars in the U.S., with Wallmart still using more than three times as much solar energy.
So ask yourself this: If the world’s most successful, powerful, and profitable companies in the world are using renewable energy sources to power their businesses, because they see the smart investment, doesn’t it make sense for businesses in the UK to follow suit?
The UK is usually right behind the US when it comes to technology and business, so the time to invest is now.
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