Tag: "costco"

09/25/12

  11:30:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 274 words  
Categories: All About Solar Power, SEIA, Commercial Solar

Solar Means Business!

We have written before about the types of companies that choose to install solar and we featured the specific strides that IKEA is making toward energy independence. But now comes a report from the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) and Vote Solar that shows that when it comes to saving money, solar really does mean business!

Top twenty companies for installed solar capacityAs the above chart shows, these twenty companies have installed more than 700 solar power systems with a combined total capacity of 279 MW, or enough to power more than 46,000 typical American households!  Retail giant Walmart leads the way with 65 MW of installed capacity, followed by Costco, Kohl’s, IKEA and Macy’s.

Indeed, the report shows that IKEA has installed solar at 79% of its stores, exceeding by mid-2012 the goal that it had set for 2015!

What is motivating these companies to adopt solar at such an impressive - and accelerating - pace?  Well, it certainly isn’t green-eyed environmentalism nearly as much as it is far-sighted economics.  These companies have figured out that solar power systems are a great money maker - with paybacks occurring in 4-7 years and decades of savings thereafter.

The good news is that your company doesn’t have to be a giant in the field to save money like one.  Commercial solar is simply the smartest investment any company could make, and when combined with PACE financing (at least here in Los Angeles County) you can have all of the benefits of commercial solar with next to nothing out-of-pocket.

So what are you waiting for?  Give us a call or click on that giant “Go Solar Now” button on the right to get you started on the road to some major savings!

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08/24/11

  09:02:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 538 words  
Categories: Solar Economics, Electric Cars that Run on Sun, Commercial Solar

Costco Cutting Chargers - Cites???

Every now and then you come across a news item that leaves you scratching your head - “What were they thinking?” you wonder. That was our reaction to a NY Times article reporting that giant retailer Costco is removing its already installed charging stations for Electric Vehicles (EVs). Really? Now they are doing this?  Just as modern, capable EVs (and plug-in hybrids or PHEVs) become widely available, they are removing their charging stations?  How does that make any sense?

sorry we are getting rid of this chargerCostco had originally installed its chargers back during the original EV boom that was documented in Who Killed the Electric Car.  That boom ended when the California Air Resources Board caved on their EV mandate and GM - which had only leased, not sold its EV-1 vehicles - recalled them from their drivers and sent them to the scrap pile (despite howls of protest).  But all of that took place years ago.  So why remove the chargers now?

According to Costco management, the chargers were not being used enough to justify keeping them.  Now part of that might be due to the age of the chargers which makes them a poor match for today’s EVs.  Yet, the California Energy Commission has a program in place to help pay for upgrading old chargers - like the ones at Costco - with state-of-the-art models that are perfectly matched to the new round of EVs.  “Not interested,” said Costco.  According to the article:

Mr. Hoover [the general manager for Costco in northern California] said that E.V. charging was “very inefficient and not productive” for the retailer. “The bottom line is that there are a lot of other ways to be green,” he said. “We have five million members in the region, and just a handful of people are using these devices.”

Mr. Hoover said the company was aware of the state-funded upgrade program, but did not see a compelling reason to take advantage of it.

“Why should we have anybody spend money on a program that nobody’s thought through?” he said.

Hoover’s dismissive attitude was reflected in the comments - particularly the comments “highlighted” by NY Times editorial staff - that were shockingly ill-informed.  Here’s one example:

Isn’t it enough the public has to subsidize the purchase of these slow-moving boondoggles, must we continue to coddle them throughout their entire (mercifully, short) lifespans? Calling them “green", btw, is laughable, as if the electricity coming through these chargers was generated by pixies using fairy dust. In the unlikely event these fadcars ever became popular, they’d add to the stress on our already over-burdened electric grid.

As we have noted before, we don’t believe in electricity produced by “fairy dust” - but we do believe that EVs, when combined with solar power systems - provide a way to have an incredibly cleaner driving system than what most of us are using today.  And numerous studies have demonstrated that for EVs charging at night, they will impose no burden at all on the grid.  Indeed, as the grid gets “smarter” EVs have the potential to help even out demand by providing power back to the grid.

The good folks over at Plug In America have launched a letter writing campaign to try and reverse Costco’s curious decision.  We encourage you to check it out.

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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