Walgreen Co. has expanded its renewable energy initiative to Colorado with SolarCity, a provider of clean energy.

Walgreens, renewable energy, SolarCity, solar systems, Colorado, Walgreens drug stores, Menno Enters, sustainability, Eric Wittenberg, Aurora, Mike Coffman, Steve Hogan, Xcel Energy, net-zero retail store

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Walgreens steps up renewable energy effort in Colo.

April 1st, 2013

AURORA, Colo. – Walgreen Co. has expanded its renewable energy initiative to Colorado with SolarCity, a provider of clean energy.

SolarCity said Monday that over the coming months, it plans to deploy solar systems at 22 Walgreens drug stores in 14 cities in Colorado.

"A strong commitment to the local community is one of our company's core values," Menno Enters, director of energy and sustainability at Walgreens, said in a statement. "SolarCity is helping us contribute to the health of the local communities we operate in by providing us with clean energy as well as contributing to the local economy in Colorado."

Collectively, the new solar systems will reduce more than 47.5 million pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions over the next 20 years, which is comparable to planting 25,711 trees, SolarCity reported.

"SolarCity is proud to support Walgreens' renewable energy goals that have made it one of the greenest retailers today," stated Eric Wittenberg, SolarCity's regional vice president in Colorado. "The adoption of solar by companies like Walgreens also has an economic impact in the community as it drives the growth of local jobs. Since we launched our services in Colorado in 2009, our two local operations centers in Denver and Parker now employ more than 180 people."

Walgreens and SolarCity marked the completion of the first in a series of solar installations at its store on Smoky Hill Road in Aurora, Colo. Rep. Mike Coffman (R., Colo.) and Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan were among the participants in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the store,  along with Walgreens employees, customers, and Xcel Energy and SolarCity representatives.

"Colorado has been at the forefront of energy conservation," Coffman stated. "And I'm happy to see that SolarCity and Walgreens have teamed up to help meet our state's renewable energy goals."

SolarCity noted that Walgreens is ranked as the nation's second-leading retailer in the use of renewable energy at its stores, according to Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Walgreens began implementing solar in 2007 at many of its stores across the country. The new rollout in Colorado brings Walgreens closer to reaching the Department of Energy's Better Buildings Challenge; the drug chain has committed to cutting its energy use by 20% by 2020 across 125 million square feet of its retail floor space.

Last month, for example, Walgreens announced plans to construct a net-zero energy retail store, meaning that the store would produce energy equal to or greater than what it consumes. The store would be located in Evanston, Ill.

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