Lowe's Installs Largest Retail Outlet Solar Array
The 370-kilowatt solar system, which leverages an existing asset -- the roof of the building-- generates enough electricity during the daytime to power more than 370 homes. Lowe’s, a leader the promotion of energy-efficient products, is deploying solar power to help meet the store’s energy needs.
“Environmental stewardship is at the core of Lowe's operation,” said Michael Chenard, director of environmental affairs for Lowe's. “Clean, reliable energy generation, using renewable sources such as solar power, is consistent with Lowe's commitment to enhancing our company’s operations. Our new solar electric system supports Lowe's green initiatives, helps protect the environment, and demonstrates our commitment to being a good community partner. On-site solar electric generation provides an energy source that is both economical and environmentally responsible.”
Lowe’s new solar electric system spares the environment from thousands of tons of emissions, such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, which are major contributors to smog, acid rain and global warming. It is estimated that over the 30-year lifetime of Lowe's solar electric system, the solar generated electricity will reduce emissions of carbon dioxide by nearly 3000 tons. These emission reductions are the equivalent of planting 840 acres of trees, or not driving 7.4 million miles.
“We are extremely pleased to see Lowe's join the growing roster of leading Fortune 100 companies that are realizing the benefits of deploying clean, reliable and cost-effective solar power,” said Daniel Shugar, president of PowerLight, which furnished the system. “Lowe's has long been a pioneer in environmentally responsible business practices. With this solar installation, Lowe's is further distinguishing itself as a leader -- deploying technology innovations that are critical to achieving a sustainable energy future.”
The PowerLight solar generation system covers 37,500 square feet of Lowe's West Hills store, and features 2,535 solar roof tiles made from Shell Solar modules. The Shell modules, manufactured in the United States, were chosen for their reliability and performance. The rooftop system features a patented, lightweight photovoltaic roofing assembly that delivers solar electricity to the building while protecting the roof from damaging effects of weather and UV radiation. The tiles also help insulate the building, reducing heating and cooling requirements.
“By investing in solar generation, Lowe's is integrating renewable resources into our energy mix, lowering operating costs, and reducing purchase of expensive peak electricity,” said Robin Nickles, vice president of retail facilities management for Lowe's. “This system enables us to help reduce the overall load on the utility grid during the hours of highest demand -- those times when electricity prices are highest, and the grid is most vulnerable to blackouts.”
Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency named Lowe's the 2003 ENERGY STAR Retail Partner of the Year for its outstanding contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting and selling energy-efficient products. In October, Lowe’s will be the first ever recipient of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s “Tennessee Energy Leadership Award,” and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s “Green Power Switch Award.” Green Power Switch is a renewable energy option, which provides electricity generated by clean, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and methane gas. Lowe’s is also the only corporation to sign on to a similar initiative being introduced by North Carolina Green Power.
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