The Feb. 24 Community Voices piece “Let’s keep moving Minnesota’s clean-energy vision forward” brings up some good points about the recent solar progress statewide as well as advocating for the continuation of this growth. While a clean-energy future relies heavily on a commitment to sustainability by our public officials, private-sector companies can also help out by utilizing more solar energy.
Target’s pledge to install solar panels on a fourth of their stores nationwide is an example of this type of progress, and more of our nation’s superstores should take notice. A recent Environment Minnesota analysis report found 4 billion square feet of empty space atop the roofs of America’s 96,000 “big box” retailers, shopping centers, and grocery chains. This empty roof space would be the perfect location for solar panels, a move that would be both environmentally and economically wise.
By installing solar panels on empty roof space, our nation’s retailers and superstores could nearly triple U.S. solar capacity. This would reduce climate-warming carbon pollution by 57 million metric tons annually – the same produced in a year by 12 million vehicles.
The Environment Minnesota report also described the economic benefits that these superstores would experience by utilizing solar power. If all of the locations analyzed were to adopt solar, the output could offset enough electricity to save these businesses $8.2 billion annually on their electricity bills. With this abundance of empty space a move to solar is a no-brainer for superstores nationwide.
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