Environment Arizona launches effort to get Target to go solar

For Immediate Release

Contact: Jenifer Wong, jwong@environmentarizona.org, 520-275-6695

Phoenix, AZ - Target has pledged to put solar panels on a quarter of its stores, but the company could cut pollution dramatically and even save its customers money by putting panels on all of its nearly 2,000 rooftops in North America, advocacy group Environment Arizona said today.

“Target has made progress on solar,” said Jenifer Wong, Campaign Organizer with Environment Arizona. “But, just like the ads say, we ‘expect more,’ especially when the company has so much potential to cut pollution, reduce energy waste, and save money.”

To launch its campaign to get Target to go big on solar, today the group, together with its national federation Environment America, released a new analysis of the nation’s 96,000 “big box” retailers, shopping centers, and grocery chains and their capacity for and progress toward rooftop solar.

Target’s solar potential is second only behind competitor Walmart, which has already installed at least 142 MW of solar energy, enough to power about 348 of its stores and distribution centers.

According to the latest data available summarized in the report, “Solar on America’s Superstores,” Walmart leads the pack in total solar panels already installed, followed by Costco, Kohl’s, and IKEA.

The Target chain has 240 million square feet of roof space suitable for solar in North America, the equivalent of 4,000 football fields. Target has over 40 stores in Arizona.

“I always love shopping at Target! The fact they’re including solar power on their stores is exciting and a great way to promote clean, sustainable energy,” said Target customer, Sabrina Barwick.

Rooftop solar on big box stores like Target is good for the environment, good for electricity consumers, and good for business, the report says.

Using existing roof space on all of the nation’s big retail chain stores and shopping centers could nearly triple U.S. solar capacity, reducing climate-warming carbon pollution by 57 million metric tons annually – the same produced in a year by 12 million vehicles.

Producing electricity on rooftops, close to where the electricity will be used, also reduces losses that happen during electricity transmission –  losses which totaled 5 percent of electricity sales in 2012.

Rooftop solar is also good for business. For instance, electricity produced by rooftop panels on all of Arizona’s big box stores and shopping centers analyzed in today’s report could offset enough electricity to save these businesses $220 million annually on their electricity bills.

"Our residences and commercial buildings used 41% of the energy consumed in the U.S. in 2014. Shifting to renewable energy, and especially solar here in Arizona, makes both financial and logical sense," said SunHarvest Solar owner, Brandon Cheshire. "Taking clean, renewable energy seriously also honors our moral obligation to protect future generations from the dangers of climate change. It is our duty to act," he adds.

In addition to calling directly on Target and other major retailers to install solar panels on their roofs, Environment Arizona urged for government policies to help facilitate rooftop solar, such as adopting and preserving strong interconnection and net metering policies, and encouraging electric utilities to adopt solar-friendly rate structures.

“Superstore roofs are perfect locations for solar panels. They are mostly flat and almost always fully exposed to the sun,” said Wong. “We found 4 billion square feet of empty roof space around the country that can and should be put to better use capturing pollution-free energy.”

 

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Environment Arizona is the statewide, citizen-funded advocacy group working for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.