Toyota, Apple and Intel among big business in US embracing solar

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Car manufacturers and high-tech firms Apple and Intel are among the most noticeable additions to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s (SEIA) list of commercial PV customers.

The annual 'Solar Means Business' report, released in collaboration with the advocacy group Vote Slar, ranks US firms on the capcity they have installed at their own facilities.

Walmart remains top of the list 89.4MW of installed solar, almost double its closest rival, fellow grocery giant CostCo (47MW).

“The list of companies moving to clean, affordable solar energy reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the most successful corporations in America,” said SEIA president and CEO Rhone Resch. “These iconic brands are leading the way when it comes to efforts to reduce our nation’s dangerous dependence on foreign energy sources. They’re also helping to create thousands of American jobs, boost the US economy and improve our environment.”

Apple’s new 40MW solar installation at a North Carolina data centre fires it into the list at number four, trailing third-place department store Kohl’s (44.7MW).

Tech giant Intel also breaks into this year’s listing with 6.87MW.

Internet giant Google is absent from the list. Although it invests in solar farms and has several power purchase agreements (PPA) to provide green electricity from wind and solar, its installed solar power is minimal.

Facebook has invested heavily in a clean power data centre in Sweden but solar plays a small role in its US operations.

Car manufacturers have also increased their presence on the rankings.

General Motors was the sole entry on last year’s list with 5.6MW. It has increased this to 6.7MW for 2013 byut is edged out to the 21 spot. Volkswagon is the top car manufacturer with 9.6MW while Toyota also appears with 4.4MW.

“Solar energy has played a significant role supporting our corporate goal of promoting the use of 125MW of renewable energy by 2020,” said Rob Threlkeld, General Motors' manager of renewable energy.

Retailers continue to dominate the list with Macy’s, Safeway, Target, Walgreens and IKEA among those on the list.

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