Two California Staples Stores Go Solar

SunEdison and “SunE Solar Fund I” have financed and installed two solar power systems totaling 560 kW at two Staples, Inc. distribution facilities in Ontario and Rialto, California. SunE Solar Fund I is a $60 million fund created in June 2005, to install, own and operate the solar systems. The systems were designed and installed by BP Solar.

One solar installation supports power needs for Staples’ 144,000 square foot Ontario fulfillment center, which fills delivery orders for customers of Staples’ Quill business. The second installation supports Staples’ 495,000 square foot Rialto retail distribution center, which distributes office product inventory to Staples stores throughout the western US. “Renewable power use is an important part of Staples’ company-wide environmental commitment,” said Mark Buckley, vice president of environmental affairs at Staples. “The new solar systems will yield savings and environmental benefits now and over the longer term given increasingly unpredictable energy markets.” The solar power systems will produce more than 860,000 kWh of electricity per year, the equivalent of power used by 80 households per year, resulting in more than 550 tons of avoided carbon dioxide emissions. The emission reduction is the equivalent of removing more than 100 cars from the road for one year. Each Staples facility is installed with 1,600 BP Solar panels plus support structures and electrical interconnection equipment. SunEdison expects the systems will generate about 15 percent of the facility’s peak electricity needs. SunEdison and the SunE Solar Fund I pay for, own and operate the solar power systems. Staples pays a fixed rate below its current electricity rate for the solar power generated by the systems. “It’s a very compelling deal,” said Claire Broido Johnson, president of SunEdison. “Staples only pays for the electricity generated by the solar electric system — at a rate that is less than what they are currently paying for brown power. Power is generated by solar during peak hours — and it reduces the utility’s need to use costly natural gas to meet peak electrical needs.”