Staples, SunEdison unveil Maryland’s largest solar power installation
Hagerstown, Md. Staples and SunEdison, a leading worldwide solar energy services provider and subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, Tuesday unveiled a 1.5 megawatt (MW) solar power installation at the Staples distribution center in Hagerstown, Md. Combined with the recent solar installation at Staples’ fulfillment center in Hanover, Md., Staples is now hosting more than 2.5 MW of solar capacity in the state of Maryland alone.
The 1.5 MW ground installation in Hagerstown consists of more than 11,000 solar panels and will generate an estimated 2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy annually and more than 37 million kWh for the next 20 years. The environmental attributes associated with the solar power plant will offset more than 74 million pounds of carbon dioxide for the next 20 years. Combined, the Staples deployments in Maryland will generate close to 60 million kWh of energy over 20 years — enough energy to power more than 5,500 average U.S. homes for one year.
“This latest solar power system installment at our Hagerstown fulfillment center demonstrates Staples’ ongoing dedication to sustainable business,” said Mark Buckley, VP of environmental affairs for Staples. “Working with SunEdison for solar power requires no capital investment and no operating or maintenance expense for Staples, provides power at or below the price for grid power, and helps us meet our environmental goals.”
The SunEdison/Staples solar program is made possible through power purchase agreements between SunEdison and Staples, which require no upfront capital outlays from Staples. SunEdison designs, develops, finances, operates, monitors and maintains the solar installations and Staples buys the energy produced to offset their demand from the grid at long-term predictable energy pricing.
The Hagerstown facility exemplifies Staples’ partnership with the EPA Energy Star program. It is the 100th Staples facility to receive the prestigious Energy Star Award for building energy efficiency and was honored today with a plaque to commemorate the achievement. The company is also participating in the Energy Star Challenge to improve energy efficiency across the company by an additional 10%.
Wal-Mart employs new film solar technology
Bentonville, Ark. Wal-Mart Stores said Monday it will expand its renewable energy efforts through lighter, lower-cost thin film solar technology.
The retailer said it will add solar generating systems to another 20 to 30 sites in California and Arizona, and the majority of these locations will feature the new technology. The new solar power systems will be designed, installed, owned and maintained by SolarCity, Foster City, Calif.
“Developing and incorporating new renewable energy sources, like thin film, reduces energy price risk and aligns very well with our commitment to solving business challenges through technology,” said Kim Saylors Laster, Wal-Mart VP energy.
When complete, this project is expected to supply up to 20% to 30% of the total energy needs for each location; produce up to 22.5 million kilowatt hours of clean energy per year; avoid producing more than 11,650 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually; and add to the 31 current solar installations Walmart has in California and Hawaii.
Thin film solar panels look similar to the traditional crystalline panels, but require fewer raw materials to manufacture, resulting in a smaller environmental impact over its life cycle, according to Wal-Mart.
The Walmart projects are using both copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) and cadmium telluride thin film. The company’s large scale on-site installation of CIGS could help further the development of this technology and bring it to market quicker, it said, while use of cadmium telluride thin film could help make the case for other businesses to adopt the technology for on-site commercial use.
Kohl’s activates 100th solar location
Monomonee Falls, Wis. Kohl’s Department Stores said Thursday that it activated the solar panels at its 100th solar location in Mays Landing, N.J. earlier this month. Kohl’s also announced plans to expand its solar program into Pennsylvania.
The company currently has solar panels at select stores and distribution centers in California, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Oregon and Colorado.
Solar is an integral component of the company’s energy management efforts and commitment to be carbon neutral by the end of 2010. The company estimates that energy management programs have helped prevent nearly $50 million in electricity costs. Over the last four years, accounting for rate variations, proactive energy management initiatives have translated into an improvement in energy efficiency of more than 20%, primarily in stores.
“We are pleased to have reached this milestone within three years of activating our first solar powered location in 2007,” said Ken Bonning, Kohl’s executive VP of store planning and logistics. “Our 100 solar locations, commitment to build 73 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified locations and 500 ENERGY STAR stores demonstrate our ongoing commitment to sustainability with meaningful results. We will continue to strive toward advancing environmental solutions that will lead to a cleaner, healthier environment for our communities and ensure we are doing business in a way that makes sense for our associates and customers.”
Kohl’s said that construction of solar arrays on the rooftops of seven Pennsylvania stores began in August and is expected to be completed by March 2011. The eight locations combined are expected to generate more than 2.3 megawatts of power annually.