Earlier this year Environment America and the Frontier Group released a report for 2016 highligthing the vast potential for rooftop solar on big-box stores. With the reduced costs of solar and increasing electric rates, solar energy is quickly becoming a preferred investment by residential home owners and business owners alike. This report highlight's the massive solar potential for big-box stores, and identifies how "untapped" the commercial solar market really is.
A follow up article from GTM Research says the report "details why these rooftops are “perfect" for solar PV projects. The reasons are obvious. The rooftops of big-box stores are largely flat, vacant, and also plentiful".
The facts are as follows:
- Big-box is defined as: Super stores, grocery stores and malls.
- These businesses account for 5% of electricity use within the U.S. and their buildings span over 102,000 locations with a total of 4.5 billion square feet.
- On average, Big-box stores spend $190,000 on electricity bills a year. Estimating that solar could offset electricity use by 42 percent, these business could be saving $8.2 billion annually.
- Big-box rooftops could host 62.3 gigawatts of solar energy capacity, the equivalent of more than 7 million homes.
According to GTM Research's senior solar analyst, Nicole Litvak “The biggest bottleneck to developing these types of properties is the customer acquisition".