Kroger’s Smith’s Food and Drug Centers Debut Solar Panels

Each store’s solar system will generate over 160,000 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity annually and provide significant savings in energy costs.  

The Kroger Co. has tapped Affordable Solar to install two solar systems on the roofs of Smith’s Food and Drug Centers Inc., a division of Kroger.  These projects are part Kroger’s solar pilot program deployed in three states across the country.

“The Affordable Solar team has worked proactively with Kroger and Smith’s, to help them achieve this milestone,” said David Hughes, president and CEO of Affordable Solar.  “We are proud of this achievement and look forward to the opportunity for a long-term, fruitful relationship with Kroger as part of its continuing effort to reduce its energy costs and its environmental footprint.”

The Kroger Co., one of the largest grocery retailers in the U.S., headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Smith’s Food and Drug Centers, Kroger’s division based in Salt Lake City, are committed to contributing to the communities they serve by promoting fiscal as well as environmental responsibility and awareness.

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Since 2000, The Kroger Co. and all of its brands have worked proactively to reduce energy consumption in their stores by 30%. The solar pilot program illustrates their continued commitment to energy savings and environmental sustainability.

Affordable Solar designed and installed 102kW rooftop solar electric systems on two Smith’s stores in Albuquerque, N.M. Affordable Solar worked with each store’s staff to minimize disruption to store operations during installation.  Each installed solar system consists of 442 high-quality solar panels manufactured by Canadian Solar that convert sunlight directly into electricity.  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 all proper measures were taken to protect the roof, maintain the roof warranty and ensure the roof 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 needed by them.

Each store’s solar system will generate over 160,000 kilowatt-hours of clean electricity annually and provide significant savings in energy costs. Additionally, this locally generated, clean energy will avoid approximately 120 tons of CO2 emissions annually.

The two solar projects further benefitted the local community by employing local subcontractors and vendors from various construction trades at a time when traditional construction work has been at a low.

PNM’s (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 satisfy its strict return-on-investment benchmarks required for project approval.  PNM’s solar incentive program enables the utility to purchase renewable energy credits for energy generated by solar systems connected to its grid. This program helps the State of New Mexico meet its Renewable Portfolio Standard that requires the state’s utilities to supply a certain portion of energy on the grid from solar and other renewable energy sources.