Big-box stores lead the pack in solar power use

According to a new report, huge chain stores like IKEA and Walmart are more likely to rely on solar panels for their energy needs than any other type of business in the U.S.
Written by Sarah Korones, Contributor

For big-box stores in the United States, being green isn’t just about improving a chain’s image—it’s about improving a chain’s bottom line.

In recent months, national stores like Walmart and IKEA have been increasingly prone to make use of their expansive roofs by covering them with solar panels, powering up their stores. According to a recent report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and advocacy group Vote Solar Initiative, large chain stores like these are more likely to rely on rooftop solar power to help meet their energy needs than any other type of business in the U.S.

“Five or six years ago, you probably would have read about a pledge in an annual report about what they’re doing for the environment,” Rhone Resch, chief executive of the association, told the New York Times. “Now what you’re seeing is it’s a smart investment that they’re making for their shareholders, and this is a standard business practice.”

IKEA, one of the leaders in solar power use in the U.S., plans to install solar panels on almost all of its stores and distribution centers by the end of the year. Other big users such as Walmart and Kohl’s, now consistently scope out the solar power potential of both old and new buildings.

The rise in interest from big-box stores is most likely due to the fact that the price of equipment for photovoltaic systems has decreased sharply in recent months, making solar panels an extremely attractive investment.

Read the SEIA’s full report here.

[via New York Times]

Images: SEIA

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