This blog has been regularly posting about how name brands like Apple, Hertz, and Walmart are becoming power companies too by building substantial solar systems at their business. SEIA yesterday published a report that focuses on the solar boom at box stores and the numbers are dramatic. http://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-means-business-top-commercial-solar-customers-us. See also the NYT story about the report: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/business/energy-environment/chain-stores-lead-firms-in-solar-power-use-study-finds.html?r=2.
Walmart has 144 solar systems in 7 states that total 65 megawatts. And get this. Walmart intends to have 1,000 solar systems operating by 2020.
Walmart is far from alone. Costco has 62 solar systems for 38.9 megawatts. Kohl's 124 systems for 36.5 megawatts. Other prominent names include Walgreens, IKEA, Macy's, Fed Ex, GM, and more.
The top 20 commercial users have installed 700 solar systems for a total of 275 megawatts of generation. These are remarkable numbers documenting that solar boom has arrived.
But it is still in its earliest days, and these 2012 numbers will be dwarfed by installations over the next 5 years.