A couple more retailers going solar

As solar energy continues its downward trend in cost, it is matched by an upward trend in development. Companies with huge data centers like Google, Apple and Facebook, e.g. have been leading the pack with solar energy to power their buildings. Yet, cost conscious retailers are also tacking solar panels to their roofs.

IKEA was an early adopter with solar panels on 40 of its then 42 US stores. Last November, Walmart announced they would power 400 more stores by solar energy with a goal to be 100% renewable energy powered. In July, Target announced they would follow suit and is powering its 27 North Carolina stores and a total of 180 US stores with solar energy. Target’s goal is to have 500 stores powered by solar energy by 2020. Not to be outdone, Aldi is placing solar panels on ten of its North Carolina stores plus its distribution center.

With tight margins in retail, especially in the grocery market segment, to move down the path of solar energy speaks volumes. A retailer would not do this if it was not value accretive to the bottom line. Although it is still a surprise to many who limit their news sources, solar energy is growing rapidly and is a viable energy source. It is also clean and will avoid the health and environmental risks that come with fossil fuel and nuclear energy. Plus, the solar energy jobs are increasing at a double-digit rate with over 170,000 jobs at year-end 2014.

The future of solar energy is very bright indeed. And, wind energy continues to build on its success in Midwestern US and select other states. So, a little sun, a little breeze and we will be in a much better position to combat climate change and improve our health and environment.



13 thoughts on “A couple more retailers going solar

    • Remember our conversations about how this energy sources scares utilities and fossil fuel companies because it can be done in a confederated way with small and medium size projects? This train is getting faster and need not rely on legislators as the cost model continues to fall. Plus, it creates jobs in rural areas which are suffering.

      • Indeed. Minnesota has a huge wind farm about 40 miles South of us on Buffalo Ridge in Southwest Minnesota. And Xcel energy is building a gigantic solar farm about 10 miles South of us in the next year or so. The legislature mandated this a few years ago in compensation for allowing the power company to continue to bury nuclear waste near the Mississippi River. Strange trade-off, but there it is! Every little bit helps!!

      • Hugh, thanks. I think I read last year that Minnesota was a top four wind energy state. Iowa gets about 15% of its energy from wind and Texas gets about 10%. I cannot remember the other top four one. Doesn’t sound fledging at all, does it? Further, if Minnesota can benefit from solar, you would think the southern states would be all over it, especially in rural areas. BTG

  1. I think the major utility companies have their heads buried in the sand by not encompassing alternative energy sources, such as solar and wind, and start selling and supporting them instead of trying to prevent their introduction. PG&E here in calif. wants a special rate increase to cover the lost revenue of alternative energy. Why don’t they just begin selling the alternatives to increase their revenue pool? Dim-witted company managements with blinders firmly in place.

    • It never ceases to amaze me how the future path, which is so obvious, is not taken as people and companies want to continue to do the same thing. The dilemma is the alternative sources have to be closer to the power grid, which requires the capital investment. However, not all of what they do needs to be a big ticket item. Any new neighborhood could be 100% powered by solar with a back-up for the ebbs. These retailers know they can slap solar panels on their roof and have a net positive impact. IKEA’s stores are so large, they are routinely selling power back toe the utility. To me, they need to think both centralized and decentralized. And, the major reason may be water loss in the steam creation (from fossil fuels and nuclear) to turn turbines as some water sources cannot support the growth in population in an area.

      • Some of the local builders are automatically installing small solar panels in every house they build. Not enough to power the whole house, but a start.

      • As I noted in the past, one of the executives of a major non-renewable energy company in Germany admitted they missed the train on the renewable energy effort. America seems to be making the same mistake. There’s money to be made. One would think they would be first in line!

      • That is an interesting mea culpa. I also fault coal mining state leaders for not addressing transitional compensation for coal workers and embracing solar and wind. They have let other states get ahead in the renewable energy market.

  2. Note to Readers: There have been a couple of well placed editorials that cite a study that speaks to the poor bearing the brunt of the cost to move to alternative energy. The study limits its focus to the cost of the transaction by the consumer and fails to include the additional healthcare, environmental, litigation, and maintenance of fossil and nuclear fuel based energy that we all bear, but as the Pope affirmed affects the poor moreso. A great example is the cost that Duke Energy is bearing to clean up coal ash sites after its Dan River spill. The other factor is the continuing reduction in price on renewable energy. The fact that cost conscious retailers and electricity intensive data centers are moving to solar (and wind in some places) truly speaks volumes.

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