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Wayne, N.J. – Toys "R" Us is installing the largest rooftop solar power installation in North America at its distribution center in Flanders, N.J. Staging for the system is currently underway and construction will conclude this summer. Upon completion, the 5.38 megawatt on-site solar array will occupy 869,294 sq. ft. It is estimated to generate 72% of the electrical needs for the Toys "R" Us facility, which is the largest of the chain’s 10 DCs and covers over 1.5 million sq. ft., in addition to the roof, which spans 32 acres.
Constellation Energy will build, own and maintain the system. Toys "R" Us will purchase the electricity generated by the system from Constellation Energy through a 20-year power purchase agreement.
The Toys “R” Us solar power installation will cover nearly 70% of the distribution center's 1,281,000-sq-ft. roof and will consist of more than 37,000 ultra lightweight Uni-Solar brand photovoltaic solar panels, manufactured by United Solar, a subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices.
Depending on weather conditions, the system is expected to produce approximately 6,362,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year. Generating the same amount of electricity using non-renewable sources would result in the release of an estimated 4,387 metric tons of carbon dioxide, the equivalent emissions from 860 passenger vehicles or that of the electricity used to power 532 homes annually.
The solar power system is comprised of thin-film photovoltaic panels that are flexible, lightweight, durable and maintain performance, even in sub-optimal lighting conditions. In addition, the non-ballasted, non-penetrating and removable racking system allows access to the roof and prevents debris build-up and maintenance issues.
Beyond the solar project in Flanders, N.J., the company is making a number of sustainable upgrades to its existing stores around the country and incorporating renewable and energy efficient features into its new locations. In January 2010, a rooftop solar power system was installed at the Babies "R" Us in North Brunswick, N.J., through a partnership with the developer. It currently provides approximately 67% of the electricity needs for the location.
This spring, another rooftop solar system at the "R" Superstore in Secaucus, N.J., will be installed in partnership with Hartz Solar, a subsidiary Hartz Mountain Industries. It is estimated to generate 33% of electricity for the location.