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Laura Dorle,
Environment Maine

Environment Maine joins Environment America to launch effort to get Target to go solar

For Immediate Release

 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, February 16, 2015

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Laura Dorle, 207-245-0394, laura@environmentmaine.org

 

Environment Maine joins Environment America to launch effort to get Target to go solar

 

Portland, ME   - Target has pledged to put solar panels on a quarter of its stores, but the company could cut pollution dramatically and even save its customers money by putting panels on all of its nearly 2,000 rooftops in North America, advocacy group Environment Maine said today.

“Target has made progress on solar,” said Laura Dorle, Campaigns Director with Environment Maine. “But, just like the ads say, we ‘expect more,’ especially when the company has so much potential to cut pollution, reduce energy waste, and save money. There are five retail locations in Maine alone. That’s a good chuck of rooftop space to utilize our vast solar resource.”

To launch its campaign to get Target to go big on solar, today the group, together with its national federation Environment America, released a new analysis of the nation’s 96,000 “big box” retailers, shopping centers, and grocery chains and their capacity for and progress toward rooftop solar, Solar on Superstores: How the Roofs of Big Box Stores Can Help America Shift to Clean Energy.

Target’s solar potential is second only behind competitor Walmart, which has already installed at least 142 MW of solar energy.

According to the latest data available summarized in the report, “Solar on America’s Superstores,” Walmart leads the pack in total solar panels already installed, followed by Costco, Kohl’s, and IKEA.

The Target chain has 240 million square feet of roof space suitable for solar in North America, the equivalent of 4,000 football fields/six Central Parks. Target has 5 stores here in Maine.

Rooftop solar on big box stores like Target is good for the environment, good for electricity consumers, and good for business, the report says.

Using existing roof space on all of Maine’s big retail chain stores and shopping centers could offset 35 percent of their electricity usage, reducing climate-warming carbon pollution by 120 thousand metric tons annually – the same produced in a year by 22,000 households.

Producing electricity on rooftops, close to where the electricity will be used, also reduces losses that happen during electricity transmission –  losses which totaled 5 percent of electricity sales in 2012.

Rooftop solar is also good for business. Electricity produced by rooftop panels on all the big box stores and shopping centers analyzed in today’s report could offset enough electricity to save these businesses $28 million annually on their electricity bills in Maine alone.

In addition to calling directly on Target and other major retailers to install solar panels on their roofs, Environment Maine urges state government policies to help facilitate rooftop solar. There is likely to be a bill coming out of the stakeholder process this past year in Maine to increase solar in the state.

In addition, solar power is an important part of implementing the Clean Power Plan, a plan finalized by the Obama Administration last year that would limit carbon pollution from power plants by 32% by 2030, and supported by both Senators King and Collins here in Maine.

“We have a lot of solar potential here in Maine, and superstore roofs are perfect locations for solar panels. They are mostly flat and almost always fully exposed to the sun,” said Dorle. “We found 4 billion square feet of empty roof space around the country that can and should be put to better use capturing pollution-free energy.”

 

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Environment Maine Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future. www.environmentmaine.org