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Kohl’s to Boost Solar Capacity 25%

Kohl’s Department Stores is to install solar panels at roughly 30 additional locations, expanding its existing solar program by nearly 25 percent.

While some of the new solar sites will be in states such as California, Connecticut and Maryland where Kohl’s already has a solar presence, additional sites will be located in new solar states for Kohl’s, including Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.

On average, the solar panels will supply 20 to 50 percent of each store’s energy. Construction of the solar panel arrays on the first phase of stores began this spring and should be completed by the end of 2012. At that time, Kohl’s expects to have more than 150 solar locations across 13 states, providing more than 74.2 million kWh of energy annually

Kohl’s launched its solar program in 2007 with the installation of panels at its Laguna Niguel, Calif. store. Over the past five years, the company has continued to expand the program to additional locations where solar power is feasible and provides a cost savings. Currently, Kohl’s is one of the largest single hosts of solar electricity in North America, with the technology installed at more than 120 locations – 20 of them added in 2011.

The company is the second-largest user of green power in the US, according to the EPA’s Green Power Partnership rankings, and gets 100 percent of its energy from renewables – either self-generated or purchased.

In other renewables news, SC Johnson has announced plans to build two wind turbines at its largest global manufacturing plant, Waxdale, located in Mt. Pleasant, Wis. The roughly 41-foot-high wind turbines will generate about 8 million kWh of electricity per year and reduce carbon emissions associated with powering Waxdale by six thousand metric tons annually, the company says.

When complete, the addition of the wind turbines will enable the Waxdale site to generate up to 100 percent of its electrical energy needs, with about 60 percent of it coming from renewable sources. Some 15 percent of the site’s power will come from the turbines, with the remaining 85 percent being drawn from two co-generation units that produce electrical energy and steam. Around 27 million kWh per year, or 45 percent of the site’s energy needs, will be renewable energy from landfill gases used by cogeneration unit one; on average, the remaining 23 million kWh, or 40 percent of site needs, will be from methane used by cogeneration unit two.

Finally, Campbell Soup Company, BNB Renewable Energy Holdings, Enfinity America Corporation, FirstEnergy Solutions and SunPower Corp. have completed the installation of a 9.8 MW solar power system at Campbell’s manufacturing facility in Napoleon, Ohio. The system, for which a power purchase agreement was signed in February 2011, is now generating the equivalent of 15 percent of the facility’s annual electricity requirements.

3 thoughts on “Kohl’s to Boost Solar Capacity 25%

  1. Building solar panels or wind turbines on their facilities sound good in press releases but my question is how economically viable are both of these energy alternatives to getting 100% of your energy needs from a local power plant? I can see solar panels making more sense in the desert Southwest but here on the East Coast, it seems that half the time it’s cloudy in which case solar power wouldn’t work.

  2. It’s a matter of degree. Sure, solar power is more readily available in a desert – but that doesn’t mean it is useless in other places. Take a look at this map of available solar energy: http://www.seia.org/cs/about_solar_energy. The map is adjusted for factors like average cloud cover. As one can see, the east coast of the U.S. still has more than half of the solar energy that is available in the desert southwest. Simply installing more solar panels makes up for the decreased solar input available.
    Even in the desert southwest, solar power turns off at night. So until storage technology catches up, solar cannot be used to provide 100% of one’s electricity needs. But that’s not a valid argument against going solar right now – you’ll still save plenty of energy, and significantly reduce your carbon footprint. And if your state has net metering, you can still reduce your electricity bill to $0.

  3. Incidentally, New Jersey is currently the leading state in the U.S. for installation of commercial solar energy. As I recall, they are located on the east coast…

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