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Walgreens expands solar footprint


DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens and Chicago-based solar developer SoCore Energy plan to build more than 200 new solar installations at Walgreens stores throughout California, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

This latest expansion will bring the number of completed solar installations at Walgreens stores to more than 350, making the company the leading retailer in number of solar powered stores.

“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and leading the retail industry in use of green technology,” stated Thomas Connolly, Walgreens VP of facilities development. “Because we operate more than 8,000 stores, we believe our implementation of sustainable energy technology can have a significant positive impact on the nation’s environment while also creating jobs.”

The upcoming rollout will produce an estimated 13.5 million kilowatt hours annually, the equivalent of offsetting the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of more than 1,400 homes for one year, the companies stated. Included in the rollout is the Walgreens net-zero energy, LEED Platinum store in Evanston, Ill., which will feature more than 850 rooftop solar panels.

Walgreens will host the solar arrays, and SoCore Energy will own, operate and maintain them. This model has proven to be successful for the two Illinois-based companies since 2011, when the two collaborated on a 53-store rollout across the state of Ohio.

“I commend Walgreens and SoCore on this innovative partnership and the strong commitment shown by these two Chicago companies to renewable energy,” added Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These companies are demonstrating what we in Chicago know to be true — that environmentally friendly business is good business and that there are real economic opportunities associated with the new technologies and advances that are associated with the greening of our cities.”

This rollout is the latest of many green initiatives for Walgreens. The company currently operates three stores that have achieved a LEED certification level of gold, silver and certified; a store in Oak Park, Ill., using geothermal energy; a distribution center in Waxahachie, Texas, that generates energy through the use of wind; and 400 locations with electric vehicle charging stations. Walgreens stores use 25 watt fluorescent lamps (lowest wattage in the industry), LED cooler and freezer lighting and energy management systems in more than 5,000 locations. In addition, 15 Walgreens distribution centers have achieved net zero waste, which means revenues from recycling exceed waste expense, the company stated.

Through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, Walgreens has committed to a chain wide 20% energy reduction by 2020.

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