According to the latest report of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), Apple has successfully pushed Amazon out of the throne and became the biggest corporate American solar energy consumer. The tech giant has installed nearly 400 megawatts of solar capacity, generating enough electricity to charge more than 60 billion smartphones.
There are many ways to invest in renewable energy, such as direct purchase of green energy, construction of renewable energy power plants, or direct installation of solar panels on the roof of their own companies, to name a few. Recently, the SEIA has conducted a survey regarding the installed solar capacity. According to the latest information, more and more companies have invested in the installation and investment of solar energy, whether it is onsite or offsite, which has grown significantly. Compared with 2.5 GW across 7,000 projects in 2017, the installation has seen a historic increase to 7 GW across 35,000 projects. The annual power generation has exceeded 10.7 million MWh, enough to power 1.4 million homes.
Among these companies, Apple is the largest in terms of the scale of the solar energy investment in the United States. With its 393 MW of installed capacity, the smartphone manufacturer has surpassed the former champion, Amazon. According to the SEIA, the annual generation of electricity from Apple's solar power plant is enough to charge more than 60 billion smartphones.
According to the latest data, Amazon, the top scorer in 2017, has lost its high place with its installed capacity of 329.8MW. However, the electricity generated by these solar power plants can offset the carbon emissions of trucks driving more than 3.2 kilometers. Coming in third is Target, the mass-market retailing giant, with a total capacity of 242.4MW. The companies trailing behind are Walmart, Switch, Google, Kaiser Permanente, Prologis, and Solvay S.A. and Fifth Third Bank.
Why are these companies turning to renewable energy now? Providing electricity for the company and data centers, achieving their environmental goals, energy saving could be among the possible reasons. Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA, said that there is an increasing number of leading companies are willing to invest in clean and reliable solar energy. It is getting more important that the companies are investing in solar energy. After all, the use of solar energy will reduce the impact of climate change, create jobs and further the local economic development.
There are more and more companies are setting net zero emissions targets nowadays. More than 190 companies of different sizes have joined the RE100. Apple and Google, among these businesses, have achieved their goals of being fully powered by renewable energy. The number of companies that follow suit in the future is expected to be on the rise, aiming to be 100% powered by renewable energy some day.