When you think of Wal-Mart, you think of a massive store where you can buy everything from bananas to bicycles, but rarely do you think of solar farms when Wal-Mart comes to mind. When you think of Kohl’s, you think of a woman’s favorite kind of store: quality women’s, children and men’s clothes and household goods available at prices much lower than malls or more upscale stores, but once again, you never equate this store to solar energy or solar farms.
Microsoft? Google? You think tech. “Google” is such a part of our lexicon that it’s now a verb. “I Googled,” this. I “Googled” that. Who thinks of Google when they think of solar farms though?
But what you may not realize is that these industries are leading the way in investing in renewable energy. If anything, you think of them as consuming energy in the process of making their products.
But these companies have proven how visionary they are with their investment in solar panels for rooftops and large-scale solar farms in rural areas. Last year, these Fortune 500 companies — plus Costco and Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican — invested a whopping $500 million in solar energy and more specifically, solar farms.
There are good reasons. One, the companies can tout their forward-thinking philosophies by adding solar farms to their portfolios to not just talk the “green” talk but walk the green walk. Put simply, it makes them look good. And it’s good for the environment, reduces costs of the goods they produce, which in turn is good for customers.
They also realize that the market is prime for picking. Large-scale solar farms are relatively new in America (although old news in European countries), so now is a perfect time to invest.
Additionally, these large companies see the money-making potential. Whether they use rooftop panels to offset their own energy costs or whether they get paid for large solar farms which tap into local power companies’ electrical grids, solar farms also represent, after taxes, a 15 percent return, which is more than even most bonds.