Retailer Toys"R"Us, Inc. plans to build North America’s largest rooftop solar power installation at its distribution center in Flanders, NJ.
Construction of the 5.38-megawatts (MW) installation is expected to begin this summer. The system will cover roughly 20 acres of rooftop space and is estimated to generate 72% of the electrical needs for the distribution facility. It will consist of more than 37,000 thin-film photovoltaic solar panels manufactured by United Solar, a subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices (Nasdaq: ENER).
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.
Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) will build, own and maintain the rooftop solar power 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 facility in Flanders, NJ is the largest of the company’s ten national distribution centers and covers over 1.5 million square feet, in addition to the roof, which spans 32 acres. The facility supports replenishment and fulfillment needs for Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us locations throughout the northeast.
Beyond the solar project in Flanders, NJ, 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, NJ through a partnership with the developer. This was the first "R"Us store to utilize solar energy, which currently provides approximately 67% of the electricity needs for the location.
This spring, another rooftop solar system at the "R" Superstore in Secaucus, NJ will be installed in partnership with Hartz Solar and is estimated to generate 33% of electricity for the location.