Marlborough, Massachusetts [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] The success of a new solar energy system installed on the rooftop of BJ’s Wholesale Club in Saratoga, New York, by Evergreen Solar last spring has prompted BJ’s to install similar rooftop solar power plants operating on several stores throughout the Northeast.Covering nearly the entire roof of the building, the 80,000 square-foot 100-kW system consists of 912 photovoltaic (PV) panels manufactured by Evergreen Solar, and marks BJ’s largest North American solar installation to date. “BJ’s was one of this nation’s earliest adopters of commercial solar power systems,” said Stephen L. Cowell, CEO of Conservation Services Group (CSG). “The use of their rooftops enables us to produce clean electricity efficiently, without having to use valuable land resources.” Operating year-round, it should produce more than 100,000 kWh of electricity annually, enough to power more than a dozen average sized homes. The installation is expected to offset the release of more than 100,000 pounds of carbon dioxide — a leading cause of global warming — and other harmful greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere each year. “Member response has been enthusiastic and the system is operating smoothly,” said Terry Civic, BJ’s Manager of Energy. “Using clean, renewable energy to help control our utility costs is definitely a winning combination, especially in light of the sharp increase in utility rates.” BJ’s Wholesale Club has embarked on a chain-wide program to purchase energy from clean resources. Working with the Sun Power Electric division of Conservation Services Group, which installed the Saratoga system, BJ’s donates its roof space to Sun Power Electric, owner and installer of the power systems. BJ’s also signs a long-term agreement to purchase the power, providing the stable income that allows project partners to obtain financing. “While the residential market for solar power systems has been booming for years, we’re seeing a sharp increase in commercial use,” said Dr. Terry Bailey, Evergreen Senior Vice President. “Large-scale applications on commercial buildings further validate solar power as a viable energy solution in the U.S. and around the globe.” The technology was unveiled to the public at a recent store event, where guests toured the system to learn how it uses the sun’s power to save energy and help protect the environment. A permanent in-store display lets shoppers view information about the solar power system.