US supermarket giant Walmart, last week identified as an active funder of anti-clean energy groups, has topped a list of America’s biggest corporate solar users.
The company came first for the third year in a row in the Solar Energy Industries Association's (SEIA) ‘Solar Means Business’ report, with 105MW installed at 254 locations.
Other big names in the SEIA’s top-25 companies using solar include tech giant Apple, furnishing retailer IKEA and car manufacturer Toyota.
Combined, the companies on the list have deployed 569MW of solar capacity at 1,100 locations – a 28% increase on last year and a 103% increase since 2012, the SEIA said.
“These iconic brands, and many others like them, are all investing big in solar energy,” said SEIA chief executive Rhone Resch. “These forward-looking companies are helping to create thousands of American jobs, boost the US economy and improve our environment.”
The report identified consistent price declines in PV as a key factor behind the growing use of solar by companies; the average price of a completed commercial PV project in the second quarter of 2014 has dropped by 14% year over year and 45% since 2012, it said.
Yet despite Walmart’s chart-topping place in the SEIA report, a separate study published last week by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance claimed its owners, the Walton family, were responsible for funding efforts to undermine the clean energy sector.
According to the study, the family invested in a number of bodies known to be actively lobbying against clean energy policy.