Not many would argue against the advantages of using solar energy from a social responsibility standpoint. Solar energy is green, abundant, and useful. Until recently however, it has also been prohibitively expensive for Corporate America. Advancements in solar technology have put the costs of using solar energy in freefall, and Corporate America has noticed. Seeking the benefits of social responsibility and energy efficiency, business behemoths including Wal-Mart, Google, and Apple have committed to using significantly more solar energy. Solar energy is now the second largest source of new energy in the United States, with photovoltaic capacity jumping 41% from just one year ago.
A recent visit to a Wal-Mart store in California by President Obama exemplifies this accelerating solar momentum. Praising Wal-Mart’s pledge to double its solar projects at stores, Sam’s Club, and distribution centers nationwide, Obama brought both positive and negative attention to the subject. Critics and protestors suggested Wal-Mart’s sustainability effort was exaggerated, and did not make up for their maltreatment of employees. However, the numbers don’t lie. Wal-Mart ranks in the second tier for company’s carbon emission reduction efforts. Only six companies earned their place in the top tier. Things are looking brighter for proponents of green and solar energy!