Solar Integrated Technologies advertises as a leading provider of building integrated photo voltaic (BIPV) roofing systems, such as the 329kW installation of PV solar roofing for Coca-Cola in Los Angeles. They completed 39 industrial solar roofing projects in 2005.
In 2005, thin film PV accounted for only 6% of total PV production, but more recently there has been greater use of photo voltaic laminates. While improved production, along with newer cell designs announced by Japanese and American manufacturers like Sharp, United Solar, etc., account for some of the increase, other industry observers state that this growth is part of a larger example of employing environmental strategies to gain a competitive advantage. “As solar cells are integrated into rooftops, walls, and windows,” observed a California utility representative in a recent interview, then homes and offices “become miniature power stations, generating their own electricity and feeding excess power back into the grid.”
As previously noted, California has taken a lead in such development. On December 14, 2004 Governor Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order S-20-04, also known as the Green Building Initiative. The stated purpose this regulation was to reduce by 10 percent per square foot by 2010 and 20 percent by 2015 electricity purchased from the Grid by existing government and private commercial buildings.
There is a growing recognition by property managers as to the value of local capacity from distributed generation. Two large, UK-based retailers — Marks & Spencer ($13.5B sales) and Tesco ($68.7B sales) — have made big green announcements recently.
AutoblogGreen reports that Solar Integrated Technologies has won the $13 million contract to install solar panels on the roof of Tesco USA’s new distribution center in Riverside, California. Tesco, a British supermarket chain, is the fourth-largest retail chain in the world.
The 2 MW Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) system will cover 500,000 square feet of the 640,000 square footage of roof space at the facility and is set to provide one fifth of the depot’s power supply. This will effectively reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1,200 tons per annum. Solar Integrated Technologies has previously provided BIPV solutions for other large corporations including Frito-Lay (100 kW at one facility) and Cola-Cola (329kW at one facility).
An unanswered question is how much idle reduction will be encouraged at the new Tesco distribution center or other sites using Building Integrated Photo Voltaic systems. If the goal is to reduce carbon impact, then a strategy, consistent with other efforts in the Pacific Coast Transportation Corridor by the EPA’s SmartWay Transport Partnership to reduce emissions, might include shore power connections available to truckers. Another unanswered question for warehouse managers whether in California or Connecticut, is what powers the fork lifts used for loading and unloading the trucks.
Those are just two examples of a larger set of considerations when devising strategies that protect and enhance the environment. As previously noted, an example of a larger set is that set by the Committee on the Environment of the AIA (American Institute of Architects) and another is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. A third set consists of recommendations made by the National Energy Policy Council of the Association of Energy Engineers.
Dane Muldoon compared the Tesco announcement to another example of an innovative company significantly adding to its renewable energy capabilities, i.e., when Google announced it was adding 1.6-megawatts of solar power to the Googleplex. Both examples occur in California, which coincides with the $3.4 billion initiative, the goal of which is to promote a million more solar rooftops in the next 10 years. Feed-in tariffs are something yet to be implemented in California, but which have been “brought to the table“.
Bonnie Alter, writing for Treehugger notes that Marks & Spencer is another fine example.
Already on the A list for environmentally aware practices, M&S has announced its “A Plan” to get even better. They will spend £200M ($393M) over the next five years to implement their 100-point plan which includes making the supermarket carbon neutral and sending no waste to landfills by 2012.