By Aven Satre-Meloy
Originally published on Mosaic
Our friends at Mosaic take a look at a few of the many large companies that went solar in 2013. As more companies find that solar saves them significant amounts of money, we’re bound to see a lot more follow suit.
Don’t think solar can save you or your community money? Guess again. In today’s cut-throat economy, businesses rarely act without thinking in their bottomline’s best interest. Solar power was once considered uneconomical and was something championed only by environmentalists or hippies, but those days are long gone; corporate boardrooms around the world have embraced it as a solid, money-saving investment. Check out the companies below to find out who has made the business-savvy decision of adding solar to cut costs, while shrinking their carbon footprints. If going solar is a smart decision for these guys, you should consider finding out how Mosaic can help you save money with solar.
1. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
With installations like this one on a Wal-Mart in Foothill Ranch, California, the multinational retail corporationled the way for corporate solar installations in 2013, reaching 89 MW of installed solar capacity. Wal-Mart is now generating more energy from the sun than 38 U.S. states, enough to power 22,250 U.S. homes. While it’s currently producing more solar energy today than the entire country did in 1987, Wal-Mart still has room to grow and plans to install even more systems atop its stores’ rooftops in the coming year.
2. Costco Wholesale Corp.
Costco Wholesale bulked up its solar capacity in 2013 and now has 78 solar installations on warehouses and stores in states such as Hawaii, Colorado, California, and New Jersey. Costco has reached 47 MW of installed solar capacity, which puts it in second place behind Wal-Mart on the list of businesses generating the most solar energy.
3. Kohl’s Corp.
Kohl’s impressive commitment to green power, which saw the company meet its ambitious goal of achieving net zero emissions each of the past three years, continued this year as the department store conglomerate reached a total solar capacity of 44 MW. In 2013, 14 new store locations added solar energy, bringing their total to 140 stores, and the company is on track to meet its goal of having 200 active solar installations by 2015.
4. Apple Inc.
After completing the nation’s largest end user-owned onsite solar photovoltaic array at the end of 2012 in Maiden, North Carolina, Apple started to construct another 20 MW solar installation on nearby land, which aims to produce nearly 42 million kWh of solar energy by the end of 2013. All together, Apple boasts 40.7 MW of solar energy capacity, putting it in fourth place on the list of companies that produce the most solar power.
5. Ikea Group
Rounding out the top five on the list of companies rapidly going solar is furniture giant Ikea, which started construction on the store dubbed “IKEA Miami” in 2013. Besides being notable for its massive size (more than triple the size of a typical Wal-Mart), the store’s roof is also making waves with a solar array of 4,620 panels capable of generating 1.7 million kWh of electricity every year. IKEA aims to put solar panels atop 90 percent of its U.S. locations, and the company is currently generating 35 MW of solar energy from its stores’ installations.
Aven Satre-Meloy is a senior at Santa Clara University studying political science and environmental studies, and he recently joined Mosaic and the Blog Leadership Team as a Communications Fellow. He has spent the past two years blogging and managing the social media presence for the Santa Clara University Office of Sustainability, and he is especially interested in how renewable energy can create sustainable growth in the developing world. A Montana native, Aven thoroughly appreciates all the sun he can find in the Bay Area.