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Study: Big box stores could meet half their electricity needs with solar

January 21, 2022

Washington Post ($):

Expansive, flat and abundant, the rooftops of big-box stores in the United States could produce enough solar energy to meet half their electricity needs, according to a report released Thursday. Walmart leads the way in rooftop solar potential, followed by Target and Home Depot.

“There’s massive potential across the entire country for big-box stores to produce solar,” said Wade Wilson, an author of the report from the nonprofit Environment America Research and Policy Center and the nonpartisan research organization Frontier Group. “These are big rooftops that need to be taken advantage of, and we need to start using them.”

Using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Wilson and his colleagues calculated that there are roughly 7.2 billion square feet of roof space on superstores in the continental United States. NREL estimates that about two-thirds of the roofs on large buildings overall are suitable for solar.

Fully building out that potential could produce 84.4 terawatt-hours of electricity each year and avoid more than 52 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide emissions annually, Wilson’s group reported. That’s roughly half of the electricity that the authors estimated big-box stores use in a year and, they say, the equivalent of powering 8 million American homes, or taking about 11.3 million passenger cars off the road for a year.

[Tik Root]

More: Superstores can meet half their electricity needs with rooftop solar, says a new report

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