Home Depot will soon be equipping their buildings with solar panels. In collaboration with GE’s Current and Tesla, the company announced on Thursday that 50 stores will be installing a miniature solar farm on their rooftops. It’ll bring the company close to their goal of a 135-megawatt capacity by 2020.
Stores that will be utilizing the new solar panels are located in the Northeastern part of the United States and in California. 20 of them will be in New Jersey alone, with the rest spread out in New York, Maryland, Connecticut, and the Sunshine State. The company will be leasing out these projects through Purchase Power Agreements.
On average, Home Depot rooftops contain 100,000 square feet and have a flat surface. Approximately 1,000 solar panels will be able to sit on each roof. Each solar farm would eliminate up to 35 percent of their usage from the electric grid every year. That could improve in six locations that will be using Tesla Powerpacks to store energy.
David Hawkins, Vice President of Labor and Operations at Home Depot, said in the press release that the new solar panels will help in lowering their electric prices and carbon footprint: "Our alternative energy projects are important elements of our sustainability and operations efforts as they reduce carbon emissions while also lowering our energy costs.”
These solar panel installations alone nearly reaches their goal of using 135 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020. 50,000 solar panels will feature the capacity of 130 megawatts and construction will begin this year. It would be the equivalent of powering around 2,300 homes. 50 stores resembles about two percent of all the Home Depots in the United States.
Other renewable projects that the company is involved with are a couple wind farms in North America. The Zopiloapan Wind Farm is located in central Mexico while 50 megawatts of the Los Mirasoles Wind Farm will be in South Texas. The latter will feature 125 turbines on 30,000 acres of land. 170 stores also have fuel cells, which are able to generate up to 90 percent of their electricity alone.
For a long time, Home Depot has been trying to eliminate wasteful energy usage. Even back in 2010, they upgraded ventilation and lighting in their buildings to reduce energy usage by 16 percent. It’s no surprise to see the company dive into solar energy when it’s become cheaper to do so, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see more stores installing panels in the future.