Walgreens, the nation’s largest drugstore chain, together with Chicago-based solar developer SoCore Energy, today said they will build more than 200 new solar installations at Walgreens drugstores 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,” said Thomas Connolly, Walgreens vice president 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. Included in the rollout is the Walgreens net-zero energy, LEED Platinum store in Evanston, Ill., which will feature more than 850 roof-top 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.
“SoCore is proud to be developing one of the most important and sizeable distributed solar platforms ever constructed in the United States,” said President and CEO of SoCore Energy Pete Kadens. “We love working with companies that strive to be leaders, and after we are done here, Walgreens will have more solar locations than any other company in the US. This is a remarkable accomplishment for both Walgreens and the team at SoCore.”
“I commend Walgreens and SoCore on this innovative partnership and the strong commitment shown by these two Chicago companies to renewable energy,” said 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 unprecedented 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 though the use of wind; and 400 locations with electric vehicle charging stations. Walgreens drugstores 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.
“Taking care of our environment is another way Walgreens can help people get, stay and live well in the communities we serve,” said Menno Enters, Walgreens director of energy and sustainability. “Walgreens will continue to strive for leadership in sustainability to create a happier, healthier environment for our customers and the communities we serve.”
Through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Challenge, Walgreens has committed to a chainwide 20 percent energy reduction by 2020.