Whole Foods Installing Rooftop Solar Panels At Up To 100 Stores

Image courtesy of Glyn Lowe Photoworks

Whole Foods has seen the light, and it’s getting soaked up by solar panels. The grocery chain says it’s installing solar units at up to 100 stores and distribution centers in nine states.

To get the job done, Whole Foods is partnering up with two solar companies: NRG will install rooftop units at up to 84 locations, while SolarCity will install the rest, the two companies said in a joint statement. The Austin, TX-based grocer will also buy discounted power from SolarCity.

Though the company hasn’t said which locations will be getting solar power, the goal is to have at least one store in every region, eventually. To that end, Whole Foods says it decided to use two different partners in this case so it can have solar in more areas of the country.

“If we were only going to go with one or the other, we would be limited,” Kathy Loftus, Whole Foods’ global leader for sustainability told the Los Angeles Times. “Working with both, we increase the volume and geographical markets.”

Whole Foods says it currently has rooftop solar installed at 20 stores, and that each rooftop solar unit can generate about 5% to 20% of the yearly electricity that the store needs.

“We think this is a good way also to be protecting against potential future energy cost increases,” Loftus said. “We’re doing what’s right for the environment, but we’re also doing what’s right for the business.”

Homeowners may already be familiar with SolarCity: it’s one company that will take on the cost of installing solar panels on houses, in exchange for a monthly payment, thus, providing a kind of financing plan for individuals to reap the benefits of solar power.

Whole Foods teaming with NRG and Solar City to install rooftop solar at 100 stores [Los Angeles Times]

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