Whole Foods plans to install rooftop solar power farms on 100 of its retail stores and distribution centers, the New York Times reports. The move will see nearly a quarter of the company’s properties covered in solar panels.
"Installing solar at Whole Foods locations across the country will increase the percentage of renewable energy that is generated in communities where we work," Kathy Luftus, Whole Food’s global leader in sustainability, said in a statement.
The solar panels will be installed by power provider NRG Energy and the installations it is providing on Whole Foods’ rooftops will be up to 200 times the size of NRG’s typical home arrays. That large scale allows for NRG to replicate the layout easily across several sites, according to Craig Cornelius, NRG’s senior vice president.
"It really just comes down to streamlined engineering design, economies of scale in equipment purchasing and construction, and the finance ability of Whole Foods as a quality customer," Cornelius told the Times.
While the move to install solar farms on its rooftops will no doubt help the company score points with its eco-conscious customers, the Times notes that it is primarily a cost-cutting move for Whole Foods as the solar energy is cheaper than what the company would pay traditional utility companies for electricity. The move will help the company’s bottom line as it see increasing competition from other organic food chains offering lower prices, which have been drawing customers away.