U.S. Big-Box Retail Stores Lead Surge in Solar Power Installations

A growing number of major U.S. companies, led by the nation’s largest big-box retailers, are installing rooftop solar power systems to help cut energy costs and increase profits, a new report says. According to the report, released by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Vote Solar Initiative, more than 3,600 non-residential systems were activated in the U.S. during the first half of 2012, led by retail giants such as Walmart, Costco, and Kohl’s department stores, all of which have sharply increased their solar power installations in recent months. Among the top 20 U.S. companies by solar capacity, almost half are big-box retailers, according to the report. “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, SEIA’s chief executive, 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.”