Much of the growth in solar has been coming in the form of rooftop arrays that are smaller than utility-scale projects.
The rationale behind these installations is often twofold: a desire to more closely manage electricity costs and an interest in ensuring some protection from grid outages.
Those were common refrains among the companies that show up as the top commercial investors in solar technology, according to a new report from Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Vote Solar Initiative.
The top 20 companies making on-site solar investments have so far deployed more than 700 individual projects across 25 states and Puerto Rico, generating an estimated $47.3 million in electricity annually. And that doesn't account for the millions they are saving on their power bills.
"We have plans to continue our investment in solar energy, expanding the number of locations powered by the sun, and we hope to use our scale to drive down prices for all renewable technologies," said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president for energy at Walmart, which is one of the top players on the list.
Indeed, Walmart and Costco alone have more solar PV installed on store rooftops than the entire solar capacity in the state of Florida.
Here are the top 20 companies when it comes to commercial solar installations:
* Kohl's Department Stores
* Campbell's Soup
* Bed, Bath & Beyond
* Toys 'R' Us
* General Motors
* White Rose Foods
* Dow Jones
* Snyder's of Hanover
* Hartz Mountain Industries
Other companies that have made significant solar investments are Apple, Bloomberg, Del Monte Food, GE, Google, Intel, JC Penney, Kaiser Permanente, Lackland Storage, Lord & Taylor, L'Oreal USA, Mars Snackfood, US Foods, Stop and Shop, Merck, REI, SAS Institute, and Tiffany & Co.
The amount of solar installed by the top 20 companies in the report could power about 46,500 average American homes each year. They have installed more than 1.2 million solar photovoltaic panels, covering roughly 544 acres of rooftops.