Sustainable Energy

Apple, Amazon, Google and Walmart are among the top ten firms embracing solar power in the US

Key Points
  • Corporate solar adoption has "surged" over the last few years, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. 
  • CNBC's "Sustainable Energy" takes a look at the businesses with the most installed solar capacity in the U.S.
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Around the world, companies are embracing renewable sources of energy as they look to "green up" operations and limit their impact on the environment.

U.S. firms are no different, with the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recently stating that corporate solar adoption had "surged" over the last few years.

CNBC's "Sustainable Energy" looks at the businesses with the most installed solar capacity in the U.S., according to the SEIA's Solar Means Business Report for 2018.

Fifth Third Bank 80.0 MW (Megawatts)

Fifth Third Bank
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Ohio headquartered Fifth Third Bank places tenth in SEIA's list.

In 2018, the business signed a power purchase agreement for 100% renewable power from an 80 MW solar project in North Carolina.

Solvay 81.4 MW

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Solvay, which focuses on advanced materials and specialty chemicals, is ninth from top in the SEIA's list with a little over 81 MW of solar.

One way the company is embracing solar is through an agreement to buy all the renewable energy certificates produced by a 71 MW solar farm in Jasper County, South Carolina, for a 15 year period.

Prologis 126.3 MW

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At number eight in the list is Prologis, with just under 127 MW of installed solar.

Commenting on the SEIA's report, the company's senior vice president, global energy, said Prologis "was among the first in the logistics real estate industry to invest in solar."

Matt Singleton added that Prologis' "future-focused approach to environmental, social and governance practices" had put the business "on pace to surpass our goal of 200 MW of solar capacity by 2020."

Notably, if the list was restricted to onsite solar installations, the firm would place third in the SEIA's rankings.

Kaiser Permanente 140.0 MW

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In September 2018, health care provider Kaiser Permanente said it would be carbon neutral by 2020 thanks to a power purchase agreement (PPA) for 180 MW of renewable energy.

It added that the PPA would facilitate the construction of "utility scale" wind and solar farms, as well as a large battery storage system.

In August 2018, Kaiser Permanente said that a 250-kilowatt solar system had been installed on the garage roof of its Richmond Medical Center in California.

Google 142.9 MW

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In a blog post in June, Google's director for operations, energy and location strategy, Neha Palmer, said the search giant's "purchases of energy from sources like solar and wind once again matched our entire annual electricity consumption."

Looking to the future, Google is getting involved with some large scale solar power projects.

In January 2019 the firm's senior lead for energy and infrastructure, Amanda Corio, said it would buy the output of a number of new solar farms through a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority.

This will amount to 413 MW of power from 1.6 million panels, Corio said.

Switch 179.0 MW

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In 2016, data center firm Switch commenced construction of two solar power plants in Nevada.

They have a combined capacity of 179 MW and can power all of its data centers with renewable energy.

Walmart 208.9 MW

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Walmart makes the SEIA's top four with just under 209 MW of solar.

In October 2018, the retail giant announced it had entered into an agreement with SunPower that would see the renewable energy firm install solar power at two distribution centers and 19 stores in Illinois.

Target 242.4 MW

Florence, SC, USA - June 23, 2019: Target store Commons At Magnolia Florence SC USA
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Target wants to source all of its electricity from renewables by the year 2030. The company is aiming to install rooftop solar panels at 500 of its locations by 2020.

Additionally, Target is installing charging stations for electric vehicles at more than 100 sites.

Amazon 329.8 MW

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Second in the SEIA's list is Amazon. The Seattle headquartered technology giant says its solar installations in the U.S. have offset the carbon dioxide equivalent of over 200 million miles of truck deliveries. In total, the firm has 32 rooftop solar systems in the U.S.

Apple 393.3 MW

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Top of the SEIA's list is Apple. The company's headquarters in Cupertino, California, is powered by 100% renewable energy from "multiple sources". These include an on-site, 17 MW rooftop solar installation and 4 MW of biogas fuel cells.