MMA Renewable Ventures and SunPower Corporation joined representatives from Gap, Inc. on Tuesday to unveil a one megawatt solar power system at the Gap’s West Coast Distribution Center in Fresno.
The five-acre installation is one of the largest in northern California. Designed by SunPower, the system features SunPower Tracker technology that tracks the sun’s movements throughout the day. The system increases energy capture by up to 25% over fixed-tilt systems, while decreasing land use requirements.
The installation is expected to offset 2.5 million pounds of greenhouse gas emission every year, equivalent to taking 2,466 vehicles off the road over the life of the project.
SunPower communication director Ingrid Ekstrom said similar systems have also been designed for other major firms including Macy’s, Hewlett-Packard, and Wal-Mart.
A strategic partnership
The system is owned and operated by MMA Renewable Ventures, who partnered with Gap Inc. in leveraging tax credits and incentives to finance the project at a cost of about $7 million, taking six months to build.
MMA Renewable Ventures will sell power to GAP through a 20–year power purchase agreement at or below utility rates.
MMA CEO Matt Cheney said of the partnership between his firm and Gap:
“This project demonstrates that solar systems deliver dependable power and long-term cost savings. Gap Inc. joins with several of the country’s top retailers in deploying solar; we commend their visionary commitment to renewable energy systems. By securing power through a power purchase agreement, Gap Inc. will benefit from cost savings from the system’s very first day of operation – and for years to come.”
Kindley Walsh Lawlor, senior director of strategic planning for Gap said at the unveiling:
“We are very excited this solar power system is now online. We made the commitment to host this solar system nearly 15 months ago and are proud to support the clean energy it generates. Over the past decade, Gap Inc. has sought to find better ways to do business and this solar installation is one such shining example.”
And Sunpower took their turn at the ceremony with president Howard Wenger:
“We congratulate Gap Inc. on their decision to convert five acres of unused land on the Fresno campus for the production of clean, renewable solar power. High-efficiency SunPower Trackers will maximize the energy production on the site, while an affordable PPA will provide the facility with a hedge against rising utility rates”
California’s sunny central valley
Fresno and the surrounding central valley of California is ideal for solar power installations, and many have already taken advantage of the sunny climate. Examples include:
- A 4.2 megawatt system at Fresno Yosemite Airport
- 1.2 megawatts of solar power at Fresno State
- P-R Farms of Clovis has installed a 1.13 megawatt system
The office of the mayor of Fresno welcomed Gap Inc into the city’s growing “green family”.
As goes Fresno…
Photo credit: CSRWire.com