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Target Passes Walmart As Top US Corporate Installer of Solar Power (electrek.co) 57

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Electrek: Target is the top corporate installer of solar power in the USA with 147MW installed on 300 stores. Walmart is close behind with 140MW, while Ikea has installed solar on 90% of its retail locations. The Solar Energy Institute of America (SEIA) report shows over 1,000MW of solar installed in almost 2,000 unique installations by the largest corporate entities in the country. Additionally these groups have more than doubled their installation volume year on year, with 2015 seeing a total of 130MW, while 2016 is projected to be closer to 280MW. Big box retail locations offer some of the best potential spaces for solar power to be installed -- on top of square, flat structures and in previously built parking lots. The average size of an installation by a company in this group is about 500kW -- 75X the size of an average residential solar installation. The RE100 organization has signed up 81 global corporations (many on the SEIA list) who have pledged 100% renewable energy. "We're incredibly proud of the progress we've made in improving building efficiencies and reducing environmental impact. Our commitment to installing solar panels on 500 stores and distribution centers by 2020 is evidence of that progress" -- said John Leisen, vice president of property management at Target. The geographic breakdown of solar installations is based upon three main drivers -- good sunlight, expensive electricity and state level renewable mandates, with Southern California having all three. The northeast USA, with its expensive electricity and aggressive clean energy push, has been on par with California (50% of total solar) for commercial installations. A report put together by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) breaks down the various state level laws that support corporations going green -- and, without surprise, it becomes clear that the legal support of renewable energy is a definite driver.
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Target Passes Walmart As Top US Corporate Installer of Solar Power

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    "...it becomes clear that taxpayer support of renewable energy is a definite driver."

    • by Anonymous Coward

      And the support of the US Miltary is the protector of Middle East oil. What is your point? It is called leveling the playing field.

      • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @08:26PM (#53119653)

        And the support of the US Miltary is the protector of Middle East oil. What is your point? It is called leveling the playing field.

        Solar power is used to generate electricity. Oil is used as a transportation fuel. Those are two different markets. You should compare solar subsidies to tax breaks for gas fracking instead. That would make more sense.

        • Electric cars now run on Oil? When did this happen...

          • Electric cars now run on Oil? When did this happen...

            Less than 1% of electricity comes from solar. Less than 1% of that is used to power electric cars. A market overlap of 0.01% is negligible.

  • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @08:16PM (#53119617)
    While deniers continue to say that solar simply doesn't work, stores doing this seem to still be making profit.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Target has already had a 19% decline in stock price this year alone. They are definitely not in a profitable mode. If i was a stock holder i'd be questioning why they are spending all this money to install solar panels and not trying to improve there profit by selling their retail goods. Sounds like the TGT board needs to be more focused on their core business.

      • It is nice to see a publicly traded corporation actually doing LONG TERM PLANNING. This will save Target money long term and provide good PR in the short term. I would think most retail stores use less power than their roof collects... I wonder how they deal with all that extra power when many places have a whole different set of grid-tie regulations when your output exceeds just a few MW. In my area you dare not exceed 3 MW because then you must become a power company.

        Whenever a corporation goes public it

      • Target has already had a 19% decline in stock price this year alone. They are definitely not in a profitable mode. If i was a stock holder i'd be questioning why they are spending all this money to install solar panels and not trying to improve there profit by selling their retail goods. Sounds like the TGT board needs to be more focused on their core business.

        Musta been those solar panels, eh? Everyone knows that the sun doesn't shine after dark.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The ROI is around 7 years now, possibly even less depending on their solution and negotiation. I'd bet Target plans to be around far longer than that.

      • by Ranbot ( 2648297 )

        Target has already had a 19% decline in stock price this year alone... If i was a stock holder i'd be questioning why they are spending all this money to install solar panels and not trying to improve there profit by selling their retail goods.

        Target and Walmart and other companies of their size are looking for the long-term benefits of solar. Solar pays for itself after several years, and it gives predictable energy costs that won't fluctuate with federal, state, or global politics for long-term planning. If you're a stock holder in a company that is only planning for their next quarterly or yearly profit update, it's time to sell.

    • No one (sane) questions whether solar works or not. It's a pretty straightforward technology, and it's intuitively ideal for reducing demand during peak hours, typically the middle of the work day. There are, however, questions about whether the economics make sense without government subsidies, which is where we'd like to eventually end up, I think.

      For businesses, obviously an economic incentive is the most straightforward driver, and if it's good for the environment too, that's a happy bonus. I'm hopef

      • No one (sane) questions whether solar works or not.

        I'm inclined to agree, but I get a lot of the "it won't work" responses on Slashdot.

        It's a pretty straightforward technology, and it's intuitively ideal for reducing demand during peak hours, typically the middle of the work day. There are, however, questions about whether the economics make sense without government subsidies, which is where we'd like to eventually end up, I think.

        Certainly. But since technology desn't stay in one place, That situation willt change. The economies of scale can make some pretty complex and involved processes very inexpensive. I was shocked to see that a lot of solar installations are even going in place in Alaska. Now while it's true that the really long nights of winter render the cells pretty useless, they allow them to save a lot of money on diesel fuel, and can stoc

    • by Anonymous Coward

      While deniers continue to say that solar simply doesn't work, stores doing this seem to still be making profit.

      Stock prices are lower now - have a peek. The company also receives large gov't tax breaks for it. Solar WORKS, there's no questioning that. It's larger-scale thought that comes to play when determining success or failure.

      Panels gather heat during the day and emit infrared at night as a result. If you had an area (let's say a city) with 20% of the homes and 80% of the businesses with rooftops completely covered in solar panels, you're going to have a very bad climate situation if the day is sunny and cl

  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @06:18AM (#53121095) Homepage

    Walmart has been using direct solar for lighting for 10+ years now - something I haven't seen Target do anywhere. In a newer Walmart the fluorescent lights only come on as needed to keep the light at a certain level. Noon with bright sunlight will have no electrical lighting on in a store.

    https://www.google.com/maps/@3... [google.com]

    The grid of little squares are the solar powered "lights".

    Young Target for comparison:

    https://www.google.com/maps/@3... [google.com]

    • This. Commercial PV panels are about 18% efficient at converting solar energy into electricity, and the best fluorescent bulbs are about 15% efficient at converting electricity into light (the rest becomes heat). So if you install PV panels to power your lights, you're only converting about 2.7% of the sunlight hitting your solar panels into interior light.

      In other words, covering your roof entirely with PV panels gets you as much solar lighting as cutting holes in 2.7% of your roof. The little square
      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        This. Commercial PV panels are about 18% efficient at converting solar energy into electricity, and the best fluorescent bulbs are about 15% efficient at converting electricity into light (the rest becomes heat). So if you install PV panels to power your lights, you're only converting about 2.7% of the sunlight hitting your solar panels into interior light.

        Fluorescent lights are around 80% efficient (similar to LEDs). Incandescent lights (traditional light bulbs) are around 15% efficient. It's why you can

        • This. Commercial PV panels are about 18% efficient at converting solar energy into electricity, and the best fluorescent bulbs are about 15% efficient at converting electricity into light (the rest becomes heat). So if you install PV panels to power your lights, you're only converting about 2.7% of the sunlight hitting your solar panels into interior light.

          Fluorescent lights are around 80% efficient (similar to LEDs). Incandescent lights (traditional light bulbs) are around 15% efficient. It's why you can replace a 60W light bulb with a 13W CFL.

          Uh, no. An incandescent bulb is 3-4% efficient, 5% efficient at best (that is 5% of the energy is emitted as visible light, 95% is emitted as heat). Fluorescent bulbs and LEDs are far more efficient, but nowhere near even 50%. Fluorescent bulbs are around 4x as efficient, LEDs around 6x.

          Using direct lighting instead of PV + electric light is a huge win, and leaves the rest of the roof open for PV installation if you want.

          To give an idea of how much lighting is used, I counted the lights in a Hobby Lobby

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Sorry for posting anon, but having difficulties logging in right now. Also, full disclosure, I'm a property technician for Target.

      There's also a big difference in how Target and Walmart design their stores. There are a few stores Target has that uses direct lighting in, one in the greater metro Detroit area. For the most part though it isn't as feasible with how they have their drop ceilings set up. Walmart uses a more industrial design with a high, exposed girder system and full runs of florescents across

      • Sorry for posting anon, but having difficulties logging in right now. Also, full disclosure, I'm a property technician for Target.

        There's also a big difference in how Target and Walmart design their stores. There are a few stores Target has that uses direct lighting in, one in the greater metro Detroit area. For the most part though it isn't as feasible with how they have their drop ceilings set up. Walmart uses a more industrial design with a high, exposed girder system and full runs of florescents across the entire building. Target on the other hand uses a drop ceiling with an average height of 14ft and a floor with a high gloss finish to maximize the uses of it's grid pattern lighting solutions. Any type of direct lighting would be difficult to add into the brand image Target has for it's stores.

        Thanks for the info, I've noticed the difference in style but didn't give it much thought. Still, it would be nice for them to figure out a way to get the best of both worlds.

  • I thought targets were things that were supposed to be passed - i.e., the target stays where it is and I pass it. Instead, Target passes you! Is this Soviet Russia?
  • Target is the top corporate installer of solar power in the USA with 147MW installed on 300 stores. Walmart is close behind with 140MW, while Ikea has installed solar on 90% of its retail locations.

    147MW, 140MW, 90%. One of these is not like the others...

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