New report: Texas ranks 3rd nationally for big box stores’ rooftop solar potential

Media Contacts
Lennis Barlow

Covering the state’s retail and grocery stores with solar panels could generate enough clean energy to power 654,000 average homes

Environment Texas Research and Policy Center

AUSTIN,TX – Big box roofs have big solar potential in the Lone Star state, according to a new report from Environment Texas Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group. Solar on Superstores: Big Roofs, Big Potential for Renewable Energy finds that the combined roofs of Texas’s big box stores could generate roughly 6,418 gigawatt-hours of clean electricity each year, the third highest potential in the country. That would be enough energy to power 602,000 average American homes and would reduce pollution equivalent to taking 989,246 cars off the road. 

“Big box stores have for a long time been part of the problem, but that does not mean they cannot be part of the solution in the future,” said Lennis Barlow, Clean Energy Associate at Environment Texas Research and Policy Center. “Right now, thousands of store roofs and parking lots have no solar panels installed. We’re missing out on a great opportunity to produce clean, renewable energy right here in Texas. That needs to change.”

The report also finds that installing solar on big box stores can provide numerous benefits to Texas, including cost savings for electricity consumers, cleaner air quality and a more resilient energy grid. Rooftop solar energy can be a great tool to help communities keep critical infrastructure functioning during outages and blackouts, which are likely to become more common due to global warming-driven extreme weather. Solar panels paired with batteries and smart inverters can continue to provide power even when the larger electricity grid has failed. 

“Helping big box stores realize that their support for ambitious clean energy and carbon reduction goals will enhance the resilience and reliability of the grid, and build a strong, well-informed solar communities throughout Texas is crucially important,” said Patrice ‘Pete’ Parsons, Executive Director of Texas Solar Energy Society.

Environment Texas Research & Policy Center, along with its national partner Environment America Research & Policy Center, launched a campaign in 2021 calling on Walmart to install solar panels on all of its viable roofs and parking lots by 2035.

“Big companies like Walmart have the chance to shine in the much-needed renewable energy transition,” said Wade Wilson, who runs the Solar on Superstores campaign for Environment America Research & Policy Center. “There are 593 Walmart locations in Texas. 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 Walmart to go big on solar.”

Walmart has installed almost 194 megawatts of solar generation capacity on its U.S. facilities, with additional capacity in off-site solar farms, saving the company over $1 million. However, in order to meet its goal of being powered 100% by renewable energy by 2035, Walmart will need to work diligently to transition away from conventional energy sources. 

By comparison, Target, which has 2,817 fewer stores, has installed 259 megawatts of solar generation capacity on its stores and distribution centers as of the end of 2019, enough to power about 49,000 U.S. homes. Ikea outpaced both Target and Walmart in installation of rooftop solar. In just the year 2019, Ikea installed solar panels on 370 of its stores. Of the 5 Ikea locations within Texas, 4 are equipped with rooftop solar–located in Round Rock, Grand Prairie, Houston, and Live Oak. 

The Solar on Superstore report sees states as crucially important in incentivizing big box stores to go big on solar, and recommends a number of public policies for states to pursue. These include extending state-level solar energy tax credits, championing community solar programs and streamlining solar permitting by leaning on tools like the Department of Energy’s SolarAPP+

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


Environment Texas 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