Chart: These 10 US companies buy and build the most solar

Tech and retail giants are in a race to get solar to power their operations — but one is far ahead of the rest.

A Meta data center under construction, with adjacent solar panels, in Los Lunas, New Mexico (Meta)
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Canary Media’s chart of the week translates crucial data about the clean energy transition into a visual format.

American companies that power their operations with clean energy are responsible for 14 percent of all solar capacity installed in the U.S., more than 19 gigawatts in total, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association. Half of this solar capacity has been installed since 2020. Here are the 10 corporations responsible for adding the most solar to the U.S. grid, through both direct purchases of electricity from solar farms and their own on-site solar arrays.

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Tech companies hold four of the top five spots, as they’ve made hefty sustainability commitments and need to procure huge amounts of clean energy to run their power-hungry data centers. Meta, Facebook’s parent company, holds the No. 1 spot with more than 3,500 megawatts as of June 2022 — three times as much as the runner-up on the list, Amazon. Apple comes in third, and Microsoft is fifth. 

Retailers Walmart and Target have also been buying record amounts of solar power. Target is the top corporate leader in on-site solar generation, with rooftop solar installed on nearly 30 percent of its stores. 

Rounding out the list are agricultural giant Cargill, brewing behemoth Anheuser-Busch, health care company Kaiser Permanente, and steel manufacturer Evraz North America, the only manufacturing company that ranks in the top 10 for solar procurement.

Corporate procurement of solar is expected to continue soaring, driven by the low cost of solar power and companies’ commitments to power themselves with 100 percent renewable electricity. Total commercial solar installations are expected to double again over the next three years with nearly 27 GW of off-site corporate solar projects scheduled to come online by 2025,” SEIA reports. Those projects represent almost a third of utility-scale installations in development in the U.S. Amazon alone has over 10 GW of solar projects in that pipeline — more solar than all but two states have installed to date, SEIA points out.

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Maria Virginia Olano is editorial and research associate at Canary Media.