AEE corrals big businesses to support pro-solar policies

Walmart. Salesforce. Microsoft. Lockheed Martin. Amazon. Aligned Energy.

A list of a super-secret alliance designed to take over the world? Nope. Instead, it’s a list of the group of companies that may just well help the solar industry and its renewable partners expand far beyond its current boundaries.

Organized by Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the businesses involved have committed to supporting policies at state and national levels that support the expansion of renewable energy.

“A growing number of companies have made a commitment to advanced energy by setting renewable energy or energy-related sustainability targets, but antiquated market and regulatory barriers stand in the way,” said Malcolm Woolf, senior vice president of policy at Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). “With establishment of the Advanced Energy Buyers Group, industry and community leaders will have a new voice to advocate for federal and state policies that will expand access to all forms of advanced energy.”

According to AEE, 71 Fortune 100 companies have set renewable energy or energy-related sustainability targets in 2016. In addition, the Solar Energy Industries Association reported that since 2012, corporate installations of solar have increased 240% and reached 1.1 GW for the Top 25 corporate users.

“Salesforce is committed to reaching 100% renewable energy across global operations and to improving the state of the world,” said Patrick Flynn, senior director of sustainability, Salesforce. “Reaching that goal is an ambitious target, and we believe it can be done by working with peers, policymakers and local utilities.”

Large businesses often have a reach in lobbying government officials that smaller businesses don’t have,said Lily Donge, principal, Business Renewables Center of the Rocky Mountain Institute. “The Advanced Energy Buyers Group is a new voice to engage legislators and regulators on policy issues – an important aspect for a market that has been moving towards renewables as the energy of choice,” she added.