New report: PA ranks 9th nationally for potential to get solar power from big box stores’ rooftops

Media Contacts
Rachel Vresilovic

[Philadelphia, PA] – The roofs of Pennsylvania’s current big box stores roofs have big solar potential, according to a new report from PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. Solar on Superstores: Big Roofs, Big Potential for Renewable Energy finds that the combined roofs of Pennsylvania’s big box stores could generate over 3,000 gigawatt-hours of clean electricity each year — equivalent to generating enough energy to power 297,000 average American homes. Pennsylvania ranked 9th in the nation for solar generation potential on big-box stores in the new report.

“Companies like Walmart have the chance to shine in the much-needed transition to renewable energy,” said Rachel Vresilovic, Climate and Clean Energy Associate with PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center, “There are 1,145 Walmart locations in Pennsylvania.  Each store has a big, flat, unobstructed roof, which is ideal for generating solar energy. We know this would be a win for the environment and for business, and that’s why we’re calling on companies like Walmart to go big on solar.”

“It is intrinsic upon everyone to address global climate change, and to start at the local level if we are going to create a healthier planet and maintain our quality of life,” said Chester County Commissioners’ Chair Marian Moskowitz.  “Chester County recently adopted a Climate Action Plan that is ambitious, but imperative, and we know that public and private collaboration with all levels of government and private industry – especially in transitioning to clean and sustainable energy generation – can help us achieve our goals.”

The report also finds that installing solar on big box stores can provide numerous benefits to Pennsylvania beyond just the environment. These benefits include a more resilient energy grid, cost savings for electricity consumers and cleaner air quality. For high-profile brands such as Walmart, Target and The Home Depot, installing solar panels is a difference-making opportunity in local communities. 

“Solar is such a huge win-win for big commercial buildings,” said Liz Robinson, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Solar Energy Association, “They save money, improve their resilience, improve local air quality, create local jobs and combat climate change all at the same time!”

Along with providing national and state data, the report recommends a number of public policies  that can be pursued in Pennsylvania. The report recommends that big-box stores set ambitious goals around installing solar generation capacity on their facilities and commit time and resources to meeting these goals.  It also recommends that solar-friendly policies should be implemented to help accelerate commercial solar energy production in the U.S. Here in Pennsylvania, that includes policies like renewing and expanding the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards and championing legislation that would help Pennsylvania transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

“Pennsylvania has the potential to lead the way in clean energy, and our potential for installing solar on superstores is a great example,” said Vresilovic. “With a combination of smart public policy, corporate action and grassroots advocacy, we can capitalize on the immense big box solar potential in Pennsylvania and make our state, our country and our world a better place.” 


PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces. We work to protect the places we love, advance the environmental values we share, and win real results for our environment. For more information, visit