Commercial, GHG Emissions, Solar - January 24, 2022
Big-box Stores Could Add Solar to Lower GHG Emissions
Big-box retail and grocery stores could generate enough clean electricity to cut GHG emissions equivalent to taking more than 11.3 million cars off the road and power over 7.9 million U.S. homes, according to a new report from Environment America Research & Policy Center and Frontier Group.
The report finds that solar on superstores can provide numerous benefits to local communities. These include helping build a more resilient electricity grid, significant cost savings, and better air quality.
“Rooftop solar is the best electricity source for the moment we’re in. It produces inexpensive clean energy that can be used where it’s generated,” said Susan Rakov, chair of Environment America Research & Policy Center’s clean energy program. “If we want a clean energy future, we should be deploying rooftop solar everywhere we can. Big-box store rooftops are right in the middle of most American communities, and they’re big, flat and panel-ready.”
The report states that big box stores can produce 84.4 terawatt-hours of solar energy. States such as California have the most potential capacity, enough to power nearly 870,000 average homes, followed by Florida, Texas, Ohio, and Illinois.
The report recommends a number of public policies that would make ramping up solar on big-box stores more feasible. The highest priority is to extend and expand federal clean energy tax credits. Other important policy opportunities include expanding state and local tax incentives for solar; allowing producers to sell excess energy back to the grid; encouraging community solar programs; and streamlining solar permitting.