Top 10 Companies Using the Sun for Power

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Target already has a reputation for having everything (seriously, who among us hasn’t walked in for one item and walked out an hour later with 20?), and now it can add one more thing to the list: the top capacity for solar power of all the corporations in the U.S.

That’s the word from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), which has been tracking the top corporate solar users in the U.S. for the past five years. It’s Target’s first time in the No. 1 position, after edging out Walmart, the usual winner. As Target grows its solar capacity, so do companies nationwide — the 2016 Solar Means Business report from SEIA concluded that more American businesses are installing solar than ever before.

So who else is using solar power in spades? Here are the top 10 companies:

Top 10 Companies Using Solar Power (Based on Megawatts Installed)

  1. Target Corporation (147.5 MW). Target’s goal is to increase its number of buildings with rooftop solar panels to 500 by 2020. The retailer currently has 300 buildings equipped with panels.
  2. Walmart (145 MW). In 2005, Walmart’s chief executive officer at the time, Lee Scott, said, “Climate change used to be controversial, but the science is in and it is overwhelming. Every company has a responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible.”
  3. Prologis (107.8 MW). Prologis — an owner, operator and developer of industrial real estate — has put in more solar capacity than 27 different U.S. states.
  4. Apple (93.9 MW). A former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Lisa Jackson, is now the Apple executive overseeing environmental policy, social initiatives and worldwide government affairs.
  5. Costco Wholesale (50.7 MW). The solar array on Costco Wholesale’s warehouse in Lake Elsinore, Calif., covers 45,000 square feet, which will prevent 458 tons of carbon from going into the atmosphere every year. The developers have compared this to planting 112 acres of trees.
  6. Kohl’s (50.2 MW). As of the end of last year, retailer Kohl’s had 163 solar power systems activated in 15 states.
  7. IKEA (44 MW). Ninety-one percent of IKEA stores are powered by the sun.
  8. Macy’s (38.9 MW). By the end of 2016, Macy’s is scheduled to install additional solar power systems on its facilities, for a total of 113.
  9. General Growth Properties (30.2 MW). In 2015, real estate investment trust GGP reduced its overall carbon footprint by 23,200 metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is the equivalent of removing nearly 5,000 cars off the roads in the U.S.
  10. Hartz Mountain Industries (22.7 MW). “Solar power represents both a means to be kinder to the earth by reducing pollution and is a significant factor in reducing our operational expenses,” said Emanuel Stern, president and chief operating officer for Hartz Mountain Industries, which deals in commercial real estate.

According to the SEIA report, since 2012, the top U.S. businesses have increased their solar capacity by 240 percent. This uptick in solar has helped to create thousands of American jobs, and the corporations in the report are generating “enough clean electricity to offset more than 1.1 million metric tons of harmful carbon emissions a year,” according to SEIA’s interim president, Tom Kimbis.

Read More About Solar Power:
We Could Power America with Relatively Few Solar Panels, So Why Aren’t We?
How to Solar Power Your Business
Four Reasons the Cost of Solar Energy Keeps Falling

Feature image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Wendy Gabriel

Wendy Gabriel is a freelance eco-writer based in California. Wendy's work has been featured in numerous publications and websites, including the Chicago Sun-Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fox Business News and Mashable.com. For nearly six years, she was a weekly contributor on a popular radio talk show in the Upper Midwest with a segment titled “Simple Tips for Green Living.”