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NEWS WATCH! RETAILERS LOVE AFFAIR WITH SOLAR POWER BLOSSOMS

WAL-MART STORES, KOHL’S, SAFEWAY AND WHOLE FOODS MARKET AMONG CHAINS RACING TO JUMP ON THE SOLAR BANDWAGON

a-wind-turbine.jpgSolar power is coming to the nation’s retail sector in a big way with Kohl’s stores announcing plans to add solar panels to 85 stores in addition to the 43 that already have them. Macy’s, similarly, plans to install the energy harvesting devices atop 40 more stores this year for a total of 58 stores where at least part of the energy used comes from the sun.

Also wading into the renewable energy fray is supermarket chain, Safeway, where plans call for installing panels atop 23 stores. These retailers are not alone in moving to solar energy. Other chains, including Whole Foods Market, BJ’s Wholesale Club, REI and Wal-Mart, are planning solar projects of their own.

While analysts, according to the New York Times, are not sure how much power the rooftop projects could ultimately produce, the initial estimate is that the solar panels will generate between 10 and 40 percent of the power a store needs, a significant reduction in energy demand in many communities where big box retailers use a disproportionate amount of the available energy.

Not surprisingly, most of the solar conversions to date are centered in California, New Jersey and Connecticut, states where generous incentives are offered for renewable energy projects.

For this phenomena to mainstream nationwide two things must happen. First, the federal government must reauthorize the renewable energy tax credit currently bogged down in the Congressional deadlock over offshore oil drilling and slated to expire at the end of this year. Second, the individual states need to come up with their own incentive plans the way California, New Jersey and Connecticut have.

Whether or not this will come to pass at anytime soon is unknown. What is known is that far too many states still have a vested interest in, and love affair with, coal, even though, we all know that it is among the dirtiest and most toxic of all the energy sources available.

But this is not a battle that can be won with logic. Nor is it one that can be won today. In the interim, the environmental movement should relish it’s victories – - and the move by the major retail players to embrace solar, for whatever their reasons – - is a major victory.

And while the temptation is there to force the issue of incentive plans on a state by state basis, it is not the best use of the green movements time or limited financial resources. Better to leave this battle to the Wal-Marts and Macy’s of the world, as they are better suited to the challenge.

Just know, that when these retailers see the savings that renewable energy will eventually bring to their bottom line, they will lead the fight for local incentives in a manner that the environmental movement could only dream of.

In the meantime, let’s just hope that this mainstream acceptance of solar will one day soon broaden to include wind power as well. There are currently on the market, numerous low profile wind turbines (such as the one featured in the image above) manufactured with city dwellers in mind that offer the benefits of this clean renewable energy source without the drawback of those ugly fifty feet tall spinning propeller turbines.

Perhaps by combining both sources of renewable energy, the day will come when these retail giants will be entirely off the grid, which would eliminate much of the CO2 currently discharged into our atmosphere.

One can only hope.

- – Denis

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One Response to “NEWS WATCH! RETAILERS LOVE AFFAIR WITH SOLAR POWER BLOSSOMS”

  1. business magazines Says:

    business magazines…

    One of the magazines I purchased recently featured a fantastic spread on volun- tourism, where \”do good while having a good time\” abroad. There are a variety of causes to support including the environment, children\’s issues, health & wellness,…

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