17 August 2011
Affordable Solar has installed the first two solar systems for The Kroger Co. on the roofs of Smith's Food and Drug Centres, Inc., a division of Kroger.
These projects are part of Kroger's solar pilot program deployed in three states across the US. Affordable Solar designed and installed 102 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar electric systems on two Smith's stores in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Affordable Solar worked with each store's staff to minimise disruption to store operations during installation. Each store's solar system consists of 442 solar panels manufactured by Canadian Solar.
The solar panels are properly secured on store roofs by using Unirac and Schletter manufactured, ballasted mounting systems that avoid roof penetrations. As part of this effort, Affordable Solar employed National Roofing, a local roofing installation company, to ensure that all proper measures were taken to protect the roof, maintain the roof's warranty and ensure the roof's longevity.
The electricity flows from the solar panels on the roof to commercial-grade inverters manufactured by PV Powered. The inverters convert direct-current (DC) electricity from the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that is used by each store. The stores remain connected to the utility grid, which provides the balance of electricity they need.
Each store's solar system will generate more than 160,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of clean electricity annually and provide significant savings in energy costs. This locally generated, clean energy will eliminate approximately 120 tons of carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.
The two solar projects further benefit the local community by employing local subcontractors and vendors from various construction trades at a time when traditional construction work has been low. The local utility's solar incentives, the New Mexico sales tax exemption, the 30% federal tax credit and the accelerated federal and state depreciation applicable to solar installations have helped Kroger to satisfy the strict return-on-investment (ROI) benchmarks it requires for project approval.