STORE SPACES

Walmart expands solar commitment in Colorado

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart announced six SolarCity projects on stores in Colorado, marking the company’s 100th solar power installation in the United States and moving it closer to its long-term goal of using 100% renewable energy for all its retail and distribution facilities.

“Solar power continues to show promise as an alternative to traditional power for its environmental and economic benefits,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, Walmart VP energy. “We are proud to work with SolarCity and the state of Colorado on this project that creates local jobs, and ultimately helps Walmart reduce its energy costs, so that we can continue to pass on savings to our customers."

The installations, totaling two megawatts on three stores in Westminster and one each in Lakewood, Highlands Ranch and Lafayette, will help Colorado meet its ambitious renewable energy goals. Colorado hopes to produce 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. These projects demonstrate that solar can be cost-effective even in the large flat-roof environment where high wind and snow can pose challenges for solar projects, Walmart said.

Despite the winter weather, Colorado currently ranks fifth among the country’s top 10 states for the total amount of solar capacity installed. SolarCity engineered and delivered a customized, cost-effective solution to meet the requirements of large, flat rooftop-solar systems operating in the Rocky Mountain climate.

When complete, Walmart’s SolarCity projects in Colorado are expected to generate nearly three million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy per year, which is the equivalent of powering more than 225 homes.

“With these six solar power systems in Colorado, we reach an exciting milestone of 100 solar power installations on U.S. Walmart stores, clubs, and distribution centers,” said Marty Gilbert, Walmart director of energy.

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FINANCE

Oak Hill takes ownership stake in Earth Fare

BY Staff Writer

New York — Private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners has acquired an 80% ownership stake in the 25-store natural food chain Earth Fare. The deal values the company at $300 million.

“Earth Fare is well-positioned for expansion given robust consumer demand for natural and organic food, widespread interest in environmental sustainability, and significant market opportunity across the United States,” said Tyler Wolfram, a partner of Oak Hill Capital, in a statement. “We look forward to working closely with Jack Murphy and the rest of the management team to support Earth Fare’s next phase of growth."

Oak Hill is buying the share from Monitor Clipper Partners, which has owned Earth Fare since 2006. Monitor Clipper, along with Earth Fare’s current management team, will retain a minority ownership.

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OPERATIONS

Modell’s makes executive appointments

BY Staff Writer

New York — Modell’s Sporting Goods announced the promotions of two members on the company’s executive team.

Charles Castaneda has been promoted to executive VP — planning, allocation, replenishment and e-ccommerce merchandising. Castaneda joined Modell’s in December of 2010 as senior VP – planning, allocation and replenishment.

Todd Smyth has been promoted to VP/GMM of the licensed product division. He has been with Modell’s for the past 12 years.

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