The Home Depot has announced the addition of solar installations at 50 stores across the U.S. as it continues to expand its alternative energy portfolio. The home improvement specialty retailer says the roll-out will total approximately 22 MW and essentially make mini solar farms out of the selected stores’ unused rooftops.
The solar installations are expected to reduce electricity grid demand by an estimated 30% to 35% annually at each Home Depot store – the equivalent of powering 2,300 average U.S. homes for a year, according to the company. The average store roof, at approximately 104,000 square feet, will accommodate 1,000 panels.
The Home Depot says it is working with Current, powered by GE, on solar installations at 20 stores in New Jersey, as well as at eight stores in Connecticut, Maryland and Washington, D.C. Those installations will total 11.9 MW.
“Home Depot is a great partner to demonstrate the value of on-site solar energy as a practical, affordable and important business strategy and drive further market adoption,” says Erik Schiemann, general manager of solar at Current. “We are now beginning to leverage digital technology to collect data that will help our customers become even more efficient.”
According to Current, its team will add metering technology as part of the solar installations at select Home Depot stores in each region. Digital tests will gather data about local grid interaction and on-site plant production, as well as detailed weather tracking sensor data. These insights will help The Home Depot optimize energy usage long term at similar locations, the company adds.
In addition, The Home Depot says it has teamed up with Tesla on 22 solar installations totaling 10 MW on stores in California and New York, six of which will also utilize Tesla Powerpacks to store energy and dispatch additional power as needed.
“Our alternative energy projects are important elements of our sustainability and operations efforts, as they reduce carbon emissions while also lowering our energy costs,” says David Hawkins, vice president of labor and operations for The Home Depot.
The company’s current alternative and renewable portfolio includes solar power purchase agreements in Delaware and Massachusetts; fuel cells at more than 170 stores and distribution centers; the Los Mirasoles Wind Farm northeast of McAllen, Texas, announced this January; and the Zopiloapan Wind Farm in central Mexico, added this June.
The Home Depot says these rooftop solar projects will bring the company’s alternative energy footprint to more than 130 MW as it pursues the goal of utilizing 135 MW of alternative and renewable energy by 2020. Construction on the selected stores will continue throughout 2017.
Kansas Utility Dedicates First Community Solar Project
Westar Energy and partners have cut the ribbon on the Kansas utility’s first community solar project. According to Westar, the 1.2 MW installation in South Hutchinson, Kan., includes nearly 4,000 panels and gives customers the choice to receive some of their electricity from solar without installing private generation.
“Working together, we can expand renewable energy in Kansas efficiently and affordably,” says Greg Greenwood, Westar Energy senior vice president of strategy. “Community solar introduces new choices for our customers and makes it possible for any customer to have some of their energy from the sun.”
Energy from the community solar plant is available by subscription to Westar customers, and about 20% of the solar energy from the facility is being used at Dold Foods in Wichita, where Hormel Natural Choice bacon products are prepared and packaged.
“SoCore is honored to have worked with Westar Energy to bring reliable and cost-efficient renewable energy to the local community and to meet the needs of a great business like Hormel,” says Russell Young, senior vice president of operations of Chicago-based SoCore Energy, which developed and will own and operate the solar facility. “Solar is now a clear part of the Hutchinson economy, generating locally produced power which provides affordable energy choices to meet the needs of residents and businesses alike.”
“Supporting renewable energy helps us achieve our company’s goal to reduce non-renewable energy use by 10 percent by 2020 and is also important to the Hormel Natural Choice bacon brand,” says Joe Peine, plant manager of Dold Foods. “We are proud to support the generation of clean, renewable energy through community solar. Community solar is beneficial to the air quality of our communities, helps to create jobs and provides for the local economy.”
University Of Notre Dame Powers Facility With Solar
Inovateus Solar has completed a 144.72 kW solar photovoltaic installation for the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. The ground-mounted system is located at the Kenmore Warehouse storage facility and is the largest solar array built by the university to date.
According to Inovateus Solar, the project is connected to the main electric power feed for the building and will generate approximately 194,000 kWh of electricity annually, offsetting nearly one-third of the total electricity used by the facility. A net-metering agreement signed between the storied university and Indiana Michigan Power calls for any power generated in excess of the building’s immediate demand to be fed into the local grid for use by the utility and credited to Notre Dame.
“The Kenmore project has brought Inovateus’ mission of building a brilliant tomorrow into our own community and has deepened our already-strong ties to Notre Dame,” says TJ Kanczuzewski, president and CEO of Inovateus Solar. “Both as intensive energy consumers and sustainability leaders, colleges and universities like Notre Dame represent a compelling economic and sustainability use case for large-scale solar and renewable energy deployment.”
“We would like to thank Inovateus for their efforts on the Kenmore Warehouse installation, which adds another important component to the university’s sustainability commitment,” says John Affleck-Graves, Notre Dame’s executive vice president. “Along with solar power applications, we are implementing a number of strategies to reduce our carbon footprint to be good stewards of our environment.”
Florida Co-ops ‘Harness The Power Of The Sun’
Seminole Electric Cooperative Inc., a Tampa, Fla.-based generation and transmission cooperative, has announced that its 2.2 MW Cooperative Solar project is operational. The project is located in Hardee County, Fla., south of the Polk County line near Seminole’s Midulla Generating Station.
The project features more than 8,000 single-axis tracking solar PV panels, which rotate to follow the movement of the sun throughout the day. The electricity generated from Cooperative Solar will be shared by each of Seminole’s nine distribution electric cooperatives.
“I believe solar energy has a role in the future of our industry and the future of Seminole,” says Lisa Johnson, Seminole’s CEO and general manager. “With Cooperative Solar, Seminole is proud to provide our nine member electric cooperatives with the opportunity to harness the power of the sun.”
Seminole adds that the valuable information learned from operating this first solar facility will benefit the co-op and its members as Seminole continues to evaluate adding new resources to its energy mix.