Kohl's department stores flipped the switch on a rooftop solar energy system at its Laguna Niguel, Calif., store as part of the largest planned U.S. photovoltaic (PV) solar rollout to date. Kohl’s, in cooperation with the California Public Utilities Commission, will install solar electric systems at 63 of Kohl’s 80 California stores, totaling approximately 25 megawatts (MW) of generation.

Under the 2007 California Solar Initiative (CSI) program, the state expects to build solar power systems totaling in 3,000 MW of solar power by 2017. At 25 MW, the total projected capacity of the Kohl’s solar systems will be larger than that of the top five largest completed photovoltaic systems in the United States.

“This marks another milestone in meeting California’s commitment to lead the nation in producing and using clean renewable energy,” said Michael R. Peevey, California PUC president.

When completed, Kohl’s use of solar power will generate more than 35 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy annually. This is the equivalent of powering approximately 3,000 homes. It also is estimated that Kohl’s clean energy output will offset more than 28 million pounds of carbon dioxide in the first year.

Kohl’s rooftop solar PV systems are being built under an agreement with SunEdison, a North American solar energy services provider. Under the agreement, SunEdison manages the rooftop solar energy systems in exchange for Kohl’s commitment to purchase energy from SunEdison.

This kind of agreement is becoming more common in the industry, as it is profitable for both parties. EC