Today (March 8) Whole Foods Markets announced that it will install up to 184 solar arrays on its stores across the U.S. under partnerships with NRG and SolarCity. The new agreements will reaffirm the premium grocery company’s position as a leader in clean energy and will keep it among the 25 largest commercial rooftop solar users in the country.
Under the agreements SolarCity could install up to 100 systems and NRG could install 84 systems at Whole Foods locations across the U.S. As of 2015 the the chain had 19 solar installations across 5 states, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association’s report Solar Means Business 2015: Top U.S. Corporate Solar Users. That made it the 15th biggest corporate user of solar last year in terms of total systems installed.
The premium grocery company said the partnerships could result in expanding its solar energy portfolio by up to 400 percent. “This program showcases an exciting step in Whole Foods Market’s efforts to increase support for renewable energy as well as lower energy costs,” said Kathy Loftus, global leader in sustainability for Whole Foods Market. “We strive to live our core values of environmental stewardship, as well as serving and supporting our local and global communities. This project allows us to continue to meet the needs of all of our stakeholders.”
Under the agreement with NRG Whole Foods will get solar panel arrays on up to 84 Whole Foods stores and distribution centers across 9 states. The agreement could result in 13.8 megawatts of onsite solar panels at Whole Foods buildings. The agreement could be partially funded funded through NRG Yield, NRG’s YieldCo.
“Whole Foods Market is an ideal match for NRG. Their vision and mission aligns with NRG’s approach to driving smarter, cleaner energy solutions while continuing to serve customers, neighbors and the community,” said Rob Gaudette, SVP of Business Solutions at NRG. “We’re committed to providing our customers, like Whole Foods Market, with energy solutions that support both sustainability and economic growth.”
SolarCity could install, beginning in Spring 2016, an additional 100 installations at Whole Foods locations in states including Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. The installations will be made under power-purchase agreements with SolarCity and will be financed through a dedicated investment fund established by Direct Energy Business and SolarCity. Direct Energy Business reportedly already has solar installations with Whole Foods.
If Whole Foods, NRG and SolarCity install the amounts of solar arrays anticipated—the deals aren’t finalized yet—it will have more solar installations than any other grocery chain. Safeway had 36 installations in 2015, according to the SEIA report. It would be closer to the ranks of Walgreens, Kohl’s, Target and Walmart, each of which have more than 100 solar arrays installed across the U.S. Walmart has over 300 and previously announced plans to install 400 more arrays. Still, there’s plenty of room for large stores in the U.S. to grow the amount of solar they use.Tweet