Chain stores said to lead firms in use of solar energy

Workers installed solar panels on the roof of a Pittsburgh Ikea store, one of many large retail outlets that are making use of solar power to reduce their energy costs. / Ikea

Ikea, one of the chains in the top 20, plans to have solar arrays on almost all of its furniture stores and distribution centers by the end of the year

By Diane Cardwell

The New York Times

The aisles of a typical Walgreens drugstore are stacked with products promoting their green attributes, whether they are towels made from recycled paper or makeup brushes made from fast-growing grass.

Walmart’s turbine is to provide 10 to 15 percent of this Pittsburgh distribution center’s electricity.

But increasingly, on the roof, a less visible green endeavor is under way, in the form of solar panels feeding power to the store.

Walgreens, which has installed 134 solar systems across the country and has plans for many more, says its solar program stems from the brand’s connection to healthful living and a bottom-line desire to stabilize energy costs.

But it has plenty of company from other big-box retailers. Large chain stores, more than any other type of business, rely on rooftop solar power to help meet their energy needs, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar Initiative, an advocacy group.

“Five or six years ago, you probably would have read about a pledge in an annual report about what they’re doing for the environment,” said Rhone Resch, chief executive of the association, a trade group. “Now what you’re seeing is it’s a smart investment that they’re making for their shareholders, and this is a standard business practice.”

Led by the likes of Walmart, Costco and Kohl’s, commercial installations of solar power have increased sharply in recent months. More than 3,600 nonresidential systems were activated in the first half of 2012, bringing the number of individual solar electric systems to 24,000, the report said.

Continued:

Also:

Wind Market Moves to Maturity/Renewable Energy World 

If interested in discussing energy matters, you can contact Court Rich, director of Rose Law Group’s Renewable Energy Implementation Department, crich@roselawgroup.com

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