Business Spotlight: When it Comes to Clean Energy, Retailers Like Target & Walmart Aren’t Just Window Shopping


Probably the single most compelling reason that greater numbers of conservatives are getting behind clean energy is job creation.

We’ve been profiling some of the country’s biggest employers, including Visa, Apple, and Google, to demonstrate the effort the private sector is putting in to advancing clean energy. And last week, to recognize National Small Business Week, we began a new series of blog posts spotlighting small businesses and startups in the clean energy sector, beginning with Onboard Dynamics, as well as Q & As with small businesses prioritizing clean energy, such as Henniker Brewing Company.

Now, we turn our attention to the nation’s leading retailers, because there are some very impressive clean energy accomplishments in that sector.

It’s top of mind because the Solar Energy Association (SEIA) recently released their annual “Solar Means Business 2017” report, which tracks on-site commercial solar installations and ranks top corporate solar users. This year’s report contains data from over 4,000 companies, totaling more than 2.5 gigawatts of solar capacity across approximately 7,400 solar projects.

Out of all of those companies, Target was ranked #1 for the second year in a row, with 204 MW of installed solar capacity—more than 23 U.S. states.  Target has set a goal to have 500 buildings with rooftop solar panels by 2020, and they are well on their way with over 350 complete projects.

Second on the list? Walmart, which was also ranked #3 this year on the EPA’s Green Power Partnership Top 30 Retail. But it should be noted that it is looking to take the solar crown next year as it recently announced that it will place solar energy installments on another 130 of its stores, which will also bring it to a total of 500 locations across 22 states and Puerto Rico. Walmart says it plans to double its use of both solar and wind, making it of the RE100 companies that have pledged to transition to 100 percent renewable energy.

Target and Walmart are followed by other major brick-and-mortar retailers Kohl’s (#5), Costco (#6), and Macy’s (#9). In fact, they account for fully half of SEIA’s list of top ten companies, and that doesn’t even include furniture giant IKEA (#8).

Why the push for renewable energy for these top retailers? These retailers have a huge footprint with many millions of square feet of retail space. They’re converting to renewables because energy efficiency translates to cost efficiency. That’s one of the top reasons conservatives support clean energy.

CRES congratulates Target and Walmart on their achievements in clean energy, and we can’t wait to see how these two heavyweights compete for the top spot in coming years. We applaud the companies that ranked near the top of SEIA’s list—you are truly making a difference.

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