SunEdison, a solar technology manufacturer and provider of solar energy services, has done the completion of a 306 kW DC (direct current) solar system for Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn, New York. SunEdison designed the system using an innovative parking canopy structure that collects rainwater while protecting customers from the elements. The two companies have worked together since 2004 and have jointly deployed 1.5 MW of solar projects.
The Environmental Protection Agency has repeatedly honored Whole Foods Market for their cutting edge use of renewable energy and considerable contributions to protecting the environment. The company is among the top 15 U.S. companies using solar based on number of sites according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Their new store, Third and 3rd, named for its location in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn, is a model of environmental stewardship. The building is designed to be 60% more energy efficient than the average grocery store with more than 25% of site power needs being met by solar energy. The rainwater collected by the parking canopy is fed into a 30,000-gallon underground cistern where it is filtered and used for non-potable purposes throughout the store
"Environmental stewardship is an essential part of our core values and we spend a tremendous amount of our time thinking about how we can improve our efforts," said J'aime Mitchell, Green Mission Specialist for Whole Foods Market's Northeast Region. "Working with a partner like SunEdison has been a tremendous benefit for us as they're continuously willing to create innovative designs that help us achieve our renewable energy goals."
Retail businesses are increasingly turning to solar energy to help reduce expenses and meet corporate sustainability goals. According to Shayle Hann, Senior Vice President of Research for Greentech Media, "The commercial sector has been the bedrock of the solar market since the advent of the power purchase agreement in 2005. We see no end to the growth in this market - there are countless suitable rooftops, parking lots and other locations for commercial solar, and the economics of installing solar are only going to keep improving."
"Whole Foods Market is an exciting relationship because we are always being challenged to help them improve their business and innovate," said Bob Powell, President of North America, SunEdison. "This kind of innovation is driving our growth in the commercial distributed generation solar market. We look forward to helping Whole Foods Market and other commercial customers reduce their expenses and carbon footprint."
Once construction of the facilities is complete, SunEdison will manage the plants via their 24/7 Renewable Operations Center (ROC).