What are the environmental benefits of installing solar at your neighborhood shopping center?
The installation of solar panels at a neighborhood shopping center can have a significant impact on a community’s environmental and economic sustainability. The solar energy generated from a rooftop solar installation is a renewable source of power that can reduce the carbon footprint of the shopping center and the surrounding area and improve the quality of life within a community.
One of the primary benefits of a solar program at a shopping center is that it can reduce emissions that are associated with their operations. Traditional sources of power, such as coal and natural gas, release carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Solar energy, on the other hand, is a renewable power source that does not produce any emissions. Therefore, a shopping center with rooftop solar will offset greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.
To put it into context, the Sierra Vista Mall in Fresno, CA installed a 1,490 kW commercial solar system on its unused roof space, which in one year offsets the equivalent of 2,218,983 pounds of coal burned, or 4,643 barrels of oil consumed. Multiply that by the years in the life of the system, and the positive environmental impact is remarkable.
Unlike many traditional power generation methods such as coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants, which need water for cooling, solar power systems do not require water to generate electricity.
In regions that are prone to drought (like California), solar power can help to reduce the strain on water resources during dry periods by providing an alternative source of electricity that does not consume water. Moreover, the widespread adoption of solar energy can mitigate the water scarcity issues that are arising due to climate change.
Saving money on energy costs
A solar installation at a shopping center helps local businesses save money on energy costs. As solar energy becomes increasingly cost-effective, its appeal and adoption widens to more businesses across the country, resulting in even greater emissions reduction. The government also supports efforts to reduce our country’s dependence on fossil fuels with tax incentives such as the Inflation Reduction Act, further increasing financial savings from adopting solar. In addition, by generating its own power from the rooftop solar system, the shopping center reduces its dependence on the grid and lowers its utility bills. These savings can be just as beneficial for smaller shopping centers that may not have the same economies of scale as larger retail chains, and creates opportunities for reducing a neighborhood shopping center’s carbon footprint without taking on a financial burden.
As solar energy becomes increasingly cost-effective, its appeal and adoption widens to more businesses across the country, resulting in even greater emissions reduction.
Serving as a model for other businesses and communities
When solar panels are installed at a neighborhood shopping center, other businesses and communities take notice. Shopping centers are often highly visible and well-trafficked locations, making them ideal places to showcase the benefits of solar energy. In addition, as symbols of commerce, financial benefits of solar also become a key proving point. A shopping center with a commercial-scale solar program will demonstrate to other businesses and residents that it is possible to generate clean, renewable energy that makes financial sense, right in their own neighborhood.
Neighborhood shopping center in Reedley, CA with a large solar panel array on the roof.
A shopping center with a commercial-scale solar program will demonstrate to other businesses and residents that it is possible to generate clean, renewable energy that makes financial sense, right in their own neighborhood.
Providing educational opportunities
To really maximize the environmental impacts, a shopping center that installs solar can provide an educational opportunity for the community by spreading public awareness. Shopping centers can host workshops and events to educate people about the benefits of solar energy, the processes of installing and maintaining solar panels, and the environmental impacts of adoption. This can help to increase awareness and understanding of renewable energy among members of the community.
Ripple effect of environmental impacts with shopping center solar installs
Installing solar panels at a neighborhood shopping center can create a more sustainable, healthy, and economically viable future for a community. By reducing emissions, conserving water, saving on energy costs, serving as a model for other businesses and communities, and providing educational opportunities, a solar installation at a central community hub like a shopping center can have long term environmental benefits for everyone. Shopping centers play a vital role in promoting the use of renewable energy and encouraging the wider adoption of sustainability programs. It is important for community members, leaders, business owners, and property owners to consider the benefits of solar energy and work together to make it a reality in their neighborhood.
Learn more about King Energy’s solution that brings commercial solar programs to shopping centers at no cost to the property owner, and start seeing impacts in your community.