Key takeaways


hen you think of fast food, the first words that come to mind might be "quick" or "tasty." But what about "sustainable?" Wendy’s is changing the game by enrolling in community solar to power 130 of its locations across New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts. This move isn't just in line with their eco-conscious goals but it also sets a benchmark for other big-name brands.

The Growing Popularity of Community Solar

Imagine a clean power source that brings benefits not just to one, but to many consumers. That's the beauty of community solar. Unlike traditional solar setups, where panels are installed on individual properties, community solar involves a shared solar farm. Any member of the community, even big names like Wendy's, can subscribe to this farm and receive credits on their electricity bill for every bit of power that's produced.

Community solar programs are on the rise across the U.S., with 22 states and Washington D.C. endorsing shared solar projects. A report by Wood Mackenzie and the Coalition for Community Solar Access predicts that US community solar installations will leap beyond 14 gigawatts direct current (GWdc) by 2028. What's more, they see the entire national market achieving a milestone of 10 GWdc by 2026.

How Wendy’s Community Solar Initiative Works

Partnership with Ampion

Wendy's isn't a newbie when it comes to community solar. They had earlier partnered with Duke Energy’s Clean Energy Connection and FPL’s SolarTogether, bringing efficient solar energy to almost 70 of their company-owned Florida restaurants.

Now, Wendy's has decided to join forces with Ampion Renewable Energy, a well-known solar power company from Maine. Ampion is in charge of handling the solar arrays and making sure all the power that's produced gets distributed to the Wendy's branches that are part of the program. Thanks to this partnership, Wendy's can now tap into green electricity without having to worry about running high output solar panels themselves.

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

Every kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar energy generated is tracked by Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). These certificates show the positive environmental impact that a single megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable power can make. Wendy's can use these RECs to balance out their carbon footprint, and they can also take credit for the clean energy they've helped create in their sustainability reports.

Scaling the Initiative

Nearly 100 company-operated Wendy’s restaurants and almost 40 franchise locations in New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts have joined the community solar program. In the near future, Wendy's intends to extend this initiative as more solar power generation becomes viable, boosting both its use of renewables and positive environmental impact.

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Benefits of Community Solar for Wendy’s

Cost Savings

Joining a community solar program can be extremely beneficial when it comes to saving money on energy costs. For a brand like Wendy's, this could translate into a significant reduction in expenditure. Plus, they won't have to go through the trouble and costs of installing and taking care of solar panels on their premises. All they need to do is make use of the solar facilities operated by Ampion, which guarantees a constant supply of cheap solar energy.

Environmental Impact

By getting anywhere from 30% to 100% of their power from the sun, the company is making a big move towards meeting their eco-friendly targets. The carbon emissions saved through their community solar project is around 27.5 million kWh annually – it's the same as the power consumed by 2,200 homes in a year.

Enhanced Brand Image

Nowadays, customers are more attracted to companies that uphold sustainability. Wendy’s community solar plan is a smart move to enhance its reputation and win over eco-friendly customers. This move places the company alongside world-renowned brands like Amazon and Apple, who are already known for their focus on environmental initiatives.

Wendy’s Commitment to Sustainability

Scope 1 and 2 Emissions

Wendy's is making bold moves towards sustainability, with a commitment to reduce its direct (Scope 1) and indirect (Scope 2) emissions by almost half by the year 2030. Direct emissions are those that are produced from sources that we own or control, and indirect emissions are those that come from the electricity we buy. By joining community solar, the fast food chain is going a step further, taking an active hand in managing and diminishing these emissions.

Scope 3 Emissions

Scope 3 emissions refer to all the indirect greenhouse gases that get released during a product's lifecycle.  Wendy's wants to decrease these emissions by 47% in every restaurant owned by franchisees by 2030. A community solar initiative, offering access to green energy options, could be the key to hitting this target.

Wendy's 2030 Climate Goal

Source: Wendy’s

Wendy’s Solar Energy Vision

Steven Derwoed, the VP of Global Design and Construction at Wendy’s, underscored the merits of the community solar program. He emphasizes that it's an excellent way to tap into renewable energy sources and reduce costs at the same time. “We are advancing progress toward our emissions reduction goals through community solar participation and RECs. It’s a win-win for the Company and our franchisees,” – he noted.

Other Companies Leading the Way in Renewables


Did you know that Amazon is the world's top corporate buyer of renewable energy? They are targeting to fuel their operations entirely with renewables by the year 2025. Their green projects span across the globe, with solar installations in countries like South Africa and the UAE. They've made a firm stand in the fight against carbon emissions, with their fleet of over 13,500 electric delivery vans operating across the U.S.


Meta is making great strides in going green. They managed to reach zero emissions in 2020 and plan to make their whole production process eco-friendly by 2030. They're also channeling their funds into solar energy. For instance, Meta has partnered with Ørsted to supply solar power to their Arizona data center from the Salt River Project. It will be the biggest solar and storage project in the region and one of the biggest single-phase battery storage systems in the US.


In March, the retail giant announced new commitments to clean energy, hoping to add almost 1 gigawatt of renewable energy, with a focus on solar and storage, across the entire U.S. They're also speeding up their shift to clean energy in a big way, with a goal of starting up to 10 GW of new clean energy projects by 2030. Right now, about half of Walmart's operations are powered by renewables, and they're aiming to reach 100% by 2035.


Apple is another eco-conscious heavyweight. By 2030, they plan to equal every bit of electricity you use to charge your gadget with renewables. The company is funding various forms of alternative energy sources worldwide, including a large solar project in Michigan, USA that is expected to generate 132 megawatts of clean power this year.

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Why Solar Energy Is Here to Stay

The world of solar power has gone from zero to hero in just a couple of decades. Both home and utility-scale solar power have been in the spotlight, but let's not forget the businesses that have played their part. Companies are jumping onto the solar power trend to boost sustainability and gain from great tax benefits that improve their profit margins.  

The fact that titans of industry are going solar serves as a seal of approval on solar's effectiveness and many perks. The ongoing strides in solar tech, such as high output PV panels and the most efficient solar power systems, make it an unbeatable choice for businesses and individuals alike.


Making great strides in the realm of community solar, Wendy’s is setting some serious green goals for the fast food sector. By opting for clean energy and slashing emissions, the company isn't only shrinking their environmental impacts but also illustrating that going sustainable is definitely doable and viable for businesses of every scale.


Key takeaways

  • Wendy's Green Initiative: Wendy's has integrated community solar to power 130+ restaurants in New York, Illinois, and Massachusetts, reinforcing its commitment to sustainability.
  • Community Solar Popularity: Community solar allows multiple consumers to benefit from a shared solar farm, gaining popularity across 22 states and Washington D.C., with significant growth projected.
  • Partnership with Ampion: Wendy's collaborates with Ampion Renewable Energy to manage solar arrays and distribute clean energy without needing to maintain solar panels themselves.
  • Environmental Impact: The initiative will cut 27.5 million kWh in carbon emissions annually, equivalent to the power consumption of 2,200 homes, aligning with Wendy's goals to reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.
  • Financial and Brand Benefits: Wendy's expects to see significant energy cost savings and enhance its brand image among eco-conscious consumers.
Jul 5, 2024
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