Led by tech and retail giants, American companies are installing record-levels of solar to power their operations and now account for 14% of all installed solar capacity in the United States, according to the Solar Means Business 2022 report released recently by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).
The report, which tracks and analyzes commercial solar adoption, named Meta, Amazon, Apple, Walmart, and Microsoft as the top five corporate solar users in America.
Through June 2022, US businesses have installed nearly 19 gigawatts (GW) of on-site and off-site solar capacity, which is double the 9.4 GW installed through 2019. This recent growth is due to the rapid expansion of off-site corporate solar procurement which now represents 55% of all commercial solar use.
“About half of all corporate solar has been installed in the last two and half years,” said SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper in a press release. “From data centers to industrial freezers, the most energy-intensive business operations are turning to solar as the most reliable and affordable way to power their infrastructure.”
Meta dramatically increased its installed solar capacity from 177 megawatts (MW) in early 2019 to 3.6 GW today and now has the largest corporate solar portfolio in the United States. Target remains the top onsite corporate solar user, while Microsoft leapt into the top 10 by installing 479 MW of new capacity since 2019.
Walmart’s diverse set of on-site and off-site solar has kept them in the top 5 for the last decade. Companies like Intel, Google, Switch, and Digital Realty are all using solar energy at data center facilities, which help to power critical information and data infrastructure. In addition, food and beverage giants like Ab Inbev and Starbucks, health care companies like Kaiser Permanente and DaVita, and other top brands like Home Depot and T-Mobile are all top 25 corporate solar users.
There are now 23 US companies that have installed at least 100 MW of solar capacity, up from 11 companies in 2019. Eighteen of the top 25 companies ranked in this report are pursuing 100% renewable energy or carbon neutral goals.
The full report tracks over 47,000 corporate solar installations nationwide, which combined generate enough electricity to power 3.2 million homes and offset 20.4 million metric tons of CO2 annually.
In addition, the report now tracks commercial solar projects that are paired with battery storage, which is particularly helpful for businesses that provide essential services or supply critical information or data infrastructure.
Total commercial solar installations are expected to double again over the next three years with nearly 27 GW of off-site corporate solar projects scheduled to come online by 2025. This represents nearly a third of the total contracted solar pipeline.
The top 25 corporate solar users in 2022 include:
- Kaiser Permanente
- AB Inbev
- Evraz North America
- Digital Realty
- Home Depot
- Fifth Third Bank
- Lineage Logistics
- L3Harris Technologies