America's top companies continue to ramp up their use of solar energy, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) said this week as its latest Solar Means Business report found 59% growth in solar installations since last year.
According to the study, the country's top corporate solar users now have 1,686 of solar systems in operation, representing 907 MW of capacity and generating enough electricity to power more than 158,000 homes. This marks a 59% increase over the findings of last year's report and a 183% jump since the first report four years ago.
For the fourth year in a row, Walmart occupied the number-one spot in the report with 142 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity at 348 locations. The list of major companies that are big solar users in terms of capacity and number of installations also includes Kohl's, Apple, Macy's, Walgreens, Target, Ikea, Prologis, FedEx, Intel, General Motors, Verizon and Johnson & Johnson.
Businesses are adding solar not only for sustainability reasons but also for fiscal reasons. "These blue-chip companies have realized investing in solar is a common-sense, cost-effective decision that pays dividends for both the environment and their bottom lines," said SEIA president and chief executive Rhone Resch.
SEIA says the average price of a commercial PV system has dropped by almost a third in three years. At USD 3.03 (EUR 2.87) per watt in the second quarter of 2015, "commercial solar prices are the lowest they’ve ever been and are continuing to fall".
A total of 1,314 of the system for which there is mounting type data are roof-mounted, 58 are ground-mounted and 67 are carports or have carport arrays as a part of the project.
The fourth edition of the Solar Means Business report surveyed some of America's largest companies as well as a number of additional businesses with known solar portfolios. While the dataset cannot be considered a comprehensive look, it does provide insight into the diversity of companies that are choosing to go solar, the SEIA said.
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