REI Tries Solar Power On For Size

by | May 15, 2008

rei.jpgRetailer REI plans to retrofit more than 10 percent of its stores with solar power in 2008. The installations will determine how it approaches solar installations in the future.

The co-op has selected 11 stores to be retrofitted with solar electric systems in 2008. The seven locations in California include Arcadia, Folsom, Sacramento, San Carlos, San Diego, San Francisco and Santa Rosa. Additional stores include three in Oregon – Clackamas, Hillsboro and Tualatin – and the co-op’s second prototype store in Round Rock, Texas.

REI recently established a 2009 goal to reduce emissions by one-third from its 2006 baseline in order to help reach its 2020 goal of becoming climate neutral.

Solar panels can generate up to 35 percent of a store’s energy needs, according to the company. REI’s solar investment will generate an estimated 1.1 million kilowatt hours of electricity.

Consulting with Blue Oak Energy, a solar electric engineering firm, the store locations were selected because of available state incentives and utility rebates, current cost of electricity, and size and current condition of the store’s roof. The solar panels for the REI stores in California will be installed by Offset Electric, while the Oregon locations will be retrofitted by Christenson Electric.

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