Whole Foods Market today announced it will be retrofitting 100 or more of its 438 stores with rooftop solar panels.
The solar panels will come from two suppliers. SolarCity said up to 100 Whole Foods stores will receive solar panels beginning this spring; NRG announced it's planning to install panels on 84 stores or distribution centers in nine states.
When completed, the solar panels from NRG are expected to generate up to 13.8 megawatts (MW) of solar power, NRG said.
SolarCity did not offer an estimate as to how much power its panels would provide.
“Installing solar at Whole Foods Market locations across the country will increase the percentage of renewable energy that is generated in communities where we work,” said Kathy Loftus, global leader in sustainability for Whole Foods Market.
The massive solar panel project will propel Whole Foods into the top 25 corporate solar users, which is currently lead by Walmart.
"Whole Foods has more than 400 stores, and they have expressed that they would ultimately like to put solar on as many stores as possible. They have targeted well over 100 stores in this phase of their solar plan, and we’re not going to speculate on the number of projects SolarCity will ultimately install," SolarCity spokesperson Molly Canales said in an email to Computerworld.
Prior to the SolarCity and NRG solar projects, at least one Whole Foods store already had solar power panels, which were installed by Freedom Solar, an Austin-based firm with about 70 employees.