Big Box Roofs Present Big Solar Opportunity

The large, flat rooftops of big box retail stores, malls, and similar structures present a major opportunity for solar energy generation.

That’s the conclusion of a new study from the Frontier Group and the Environment America Research and Policy Center. Per its analysis, “The United States has more than 100,000 big box retail stores, supercenters, large grocery stores and malls, with almost 7.2 billion cumulative square feet of rooftop space. The rooftops of America’s big box stores and shopping centers have the potential to generate 84.4 terawatt-hours (TWh) of solar electricity each year, equivalent to the amount of electricity that would power almost 8 million average U.S. homes.”

One North Carolina-based environmental reporter’s review of the study’s details found that, “If all of North Carolina’s nearly 3,700 large retail structures were equipped with rooftop solar arrays, they would generate enough energy to power more than 300,000 average American homes a year.” The report found that that would reduce North Carolina’s carbon emissions by 2,119 metric tons per year.

Electric vehicles, offshore wind, and even retail store rooftops — chances to reduce North Carolina’s contribution to carbon emissions are plentiful. We must seize those opportunities to help avert the global climate crisis.

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