Solar News: Toshiba's 100 MW in Japan, Campbell Soup, Kohl's Big Systems

Toshiba to Build 100 MW Solar in Japan

After Japan’s government announced prices for its renewable energy feed-in tariff earlier this week, which particularly benefits solar, we knew there would be a quick rush to announce big projects.

Toshiba Corp announced it will build 100 MW of solar plants, the biggest project in Japan to date. It will build several large-scale plants on the northeastern coast, investing $380 million, an area hit hard by the tsunami. Construction starts this year, with completion scheduled for 2014. 

The investment trumps that of Kyocera, which is planning a 70 MW floating solar plant that juts into Kagoshima Bay.

Campbell Soup Completes 9.8 MW Solar System 

Campbell Soup Company is now generating 15% of its electricity from solar at its manufacturing plant in Ohio.

It just turned on the switch of a 60-acre, 9.8 MW system, developed by  BNB Renewable Energy and Enfinity America, using SunPower Corp. (SPWR) sun-tracking panels.

Like so many solar systems today, rather than paying for the project upfront, Campbell signed a power purchase agreement to buy 100% of the energy the system generates.

Enfinity will operating and maintain the system, and
FirstEnergy Solutions will buy all the renewable energy credits and environmental benefits associated with the project.

"Importantly, our access to rapidly deployable capital means we can accelerate the pace of development without relying on the federal cash grant," says Rafael Dobrzynski, CEO of Enfinity America. 

Campbell’s goal is to cut energy use 35% per ton of product produced and source 40% of the energy used by the company from renewable or alternative energy sources. Well-known brands that are owned by Campbell’s include "Pepperidge Farm," and "V8."

Kohl’s Expands Solar Program 25%

Kohl’s Department Stores announced it will expand its solar program by 25% in 2012, installing solar systems at 30 more stores across the US. The systems will supply 20-50% of each store’s electricity. 

By the end of this year, Kohl’s will have solar at 150 locations in 13 states, generating 74.2 million kilowatt hours (kWh) a year. The company, which has about 1100 stores, installed solar at 20 locations last year.

Through the on-site solar, two wind farms and purchasing  renewable energy credits, Kohl’s uses 100% renewable energy. It also has over 700 Energy Star-certified locations – more than half of the company’s stores – with a goal of achieving 800 labeled locations by 2015. 

All new stores are LEED-certified and plans to have 300 stores certified by the end of this year and over 500 by 2015.

The EPA has named Kohl’s Green Power Partner of the Year in 2009-2011. It ranks #2 in the US for its use of renewable energy, after Intel. Kohl’s actually uses more renewables, but ranks second because it’s a smaller company and uses less energy overall.

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