Big Box Stores Create Big C&I Solar Opportunities

Despite the growth of online shopping, big box stores remain increasingly popular due to their large sizes and expansive inventories. These characteristics also make them ideal targets for Commercial and Industrial (C&I) solar project developers and engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) firms. 


With thousands of big box retailers nationwide, these massive, warehouse-like buildings offer big C&I solar opportunities. For example, High Country News recently calculated the amount of power the 21,363 big box stores in the Western US — California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming — could generate if they installed solar panels on their roofs and parking lots. They found that these stores could generate a whopping 31,035,098 megawatt-hours (mWh) of estimated total annual energy output. 


That’s the equivalent of powering 3 million homes for a year!


It’s not just the potential space for solar PV systems on these rooftops that offers opportunities; installing C&I PV systems also makes sense for the stores. Offsetting high energy demands and corporate decarbonization goals are becoming more urgent for retailers, and a C&I solar PV system could be the solution they need. 


Ample Roof Space for PV System

Big box stores typically have large, flat roofs that provide plenty of room to install solar panels. This spaciousness means that EPCs can easily fit rooftop C&I PV systems into stores’ existing infrastructure without requiring major changes or renovations.


With volatile energy prices and an overstressed electrical grid, EPCs and developers should help retailers understand how they can start leveraging these open spaces to generate their own renewable energy to power operations.


Offset High Energy Demands With Solar Power

Solar power can deliver significant financial benefits for big box stores too. Commercial buildings account for about 70% of the electricity consumed in the United States and about 40% of the country’s total primary energy consumption. Big box stores constitute a significant percentage of this figure due to their size, the amount of inventory they stock, and their year-round air conditioning needs.


Additionally, these high energy demands coupled with the stores’ large roof spaces mean big box stores can often use economies of scale when installing solar PV systems to save even more money in the long run.


Achieving Decarbonization Goals

The major corporations operating these big box stores are increasingly seeking new ways to reduce their carbon footprints and become more sustainable.


Three-quarters of retailers have made sustainability a formal pillar of their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategies, leading to a quintupling of Science Based Targets for carbon reduction from 2019 to 2021. As retailers continue making strides to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, installing a C&I PV system can help them accelerate decarbonization goals.


Trina Solar C&I Solutions

With ample roof space, high energy demand, and financial and environmental benefits, big box stores hold plenty of promise as the next major frontier for C&I solar projects.


But turning these opportunities into reality won’t be easy without the right solar solutions and PV modules. Project developers and EPC firms must ensure they’re installing high-value, low-LCOE rooftop C&I solar PV systems for their big-box-store customers. 


By bundling major project components, including the high-powered and high-efficiency Vertex N modules, Trina Solar C&I Solutions mitigates project risks, streamlines procurement, and optimizes component interoperability. 


Contact us today to learn more about how Trina Solar C&I Solutions can help you cover big box stores with more solar.

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