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Major Solar Power Potential at Georgia Big Box Stores

Photo courtesy Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald

A new report by the Environment Georgia Research and Policy Center and the Frontier Group show that so-called big box retail stores can help Georgia increase its clean energy production. Jessica Wahl is the Clean Energy Associate with Environment Georgia.

“The bottom line is that installing solar panels on the roofs and parking lots of Georgia superstores would benefit everyone; so, businesses, electricity customers, our electric grid, and of course the environment,” according to Wahl.

Clean energy advocates say installing rooftop solar can reduce a corporation’s energy expenses, benefit communities and combat climate change. There are more than 3500 [35-hundred] big box buildings.

“And if all of those stores put solar panels on their roofs, we could offset almost two and a half million metric tons of global warming pollution, and that would be the equivalent of taking almost 500,000 cars off the road,” Wahl said. “Or, put another way, big box store solar panels in Georgia could meet 2.5% of our state’s total electricity demand with clean, renewable energy.”

Wahl says some stores , including Apple, Amazon, Walmart, and Target, are already taking steps to implement solar panels, Environment Georgia is seeking large scale efforts by 2035. Advocates would like both the state and federal governments to support their efforts by extending and expanding tax credits and compensating businesses for returning excess cleaning energy to the grid.

Alexia Ridley joined WUGA as Television and Radio News Anchor and Reporter in 2013. When WUGA TV concluded operations, she became the primary Reporter for WUGA Radio. Alexia came to Athens from Macon where she served as the News Director and show host for WGXA TV. She's a career journalist and Savannah native hailing from the University of Michigan. However, Alexia considers herself an honorary UGA DAWG!