Walgreens Installs Solar Across Ohio, Duane Reade Electrifies NYC Truck Fleet

Retail pharmacy chain Walgreens is installing 90 solar systems throughout Ohio.

The first 53 installations will be completed by the middle of November, bringing Walgreens’ total number of solar stores to 136 – one of the largest rollouts to date for a US retailer.

Chicago-based solar developer, SoCore Energy, will own and install the systems, which will have a total capacity of about 2 megawatts (MW). Walgreens will lease the arrays from SoCore for 10 years.

SoCore has chosen SolarWorld (SWV.DE) to supply the solar panels and Power-One, Inc. (Nasdaq: PWER) for the inverters.

In May, the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority gave SoCore a $5.2 million loan for the 53 rooftop solar systems across the state. The remainder of the project’s $9.9 million cost is being funded by SoCore and a federal solar tax credit.

"Walgreens’ impressive sustainability efforts include this substantial commitment to solar power and on-site renewable energy," says Pete Kadens, SoCore Energy president. "These projects are certainly indicative of Walgreens intent to be one of the most environmentally considerate retailers in the world."

Duane Reade Deploys Electric Trucks in NYC

Meanwhile, in New York City, Duane Reade is the first US retail pharmacy to electrify its truck fleet as part of a pilot program with Smith Electric Vehicles.

Duane Reade is part of the Wallgreens family of companies and is the largest drug store chain in New York City.

The vehicles are ideal for urban delivery applications that demand heavy stop-and-go driving.

Smith Electric medium-duty electric trucks will be included in its delivery fleet. The "Newton" vehicle has a range that exceeds 100 miles on a single overnight charge and can carry over 16,000 pounds. Its average annual operating cost is 33%-50% of conventional diesel trucks.

The Newton is virtually silent and features a regenerative braking system that reduces wear on the brakes while restoring charge to the battery.

All new and renovated Duane Reade stores have LED lighting, which is reducing power consumption by 40% a year. The efficient lighting is enabling the stores to eliminate energy consumptive air conditioning units, which were previously needed to mitigate the excessive heat produced by traditional light sources.

Other companies in NYC that are buying Smith’s electric trucks include Frito-Lay, Coca-Cola and Down East Seafood.

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