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LOS ANGELES - No. 1 natural and organic food retailer Whole Foods Market Inc. and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) have teamed up to create an on-site solar electric power co-generation system. Under the management of California Associated Power Inc., the system was recently installed at the Whole Foods Market store in Woodland Hills, Calif., making the company Los Angeles' largest major retailer and nation's largest food retailer to introduce solar energy as 25 percent of its power source.
Under the LADWP's Solar Incentive Program, which provided more than $582,000 in incentives, Whole Foods Market brought together California Associated Power, Sunny Boy, Shell Solar (formerly Siemens Solar), The Gas Company and Sempra Energy to create a 108kW solar electric system to power the Woodland Hills store. The solar array, composed of Shell Solar panels covering 18,000 square feet on the store's roof, turns the sun's free energy into usable power. These solar panels are electrically interconnected to Sunny Boy power modules, which feed high-quality DC power to the store's existing electrical system and the utility grid at large. This innovative solar electric and lighting system maximizes the usable solar energy produced by the photovoltaic panels and increases the efficiency of power conversion.
"We are a company actively looking for ways to help preserve our planet's natural resources, and natural solar powered lighting systems made sense both from an economic and an environmental standpoint," said Michael Besancon, Southern Pacific regional president of Whole Foods Market. "Most importantly, this initiative is helping us to further our corporate mission of preserving the environment by promoting clean energy. We are planning to implement this technology with other stores throughout the Southern Pacific region."
Whole Foods Market's new solar electrical system is expected to produce and save more than 3 million kilowatt hours over 20 years. In addition, more than 2,000 tons of CO2 emissions will be avoided, which is the equivalent of removing 536 cars from the roadways.
The Solar Power Program is one in a series of Green LA initiatives that also includes Green Power, Energy Efficiently, Electric Transportation, Tree Planting for Green LA, Cool Schools Tree Planting and Recycling.
The LADWP is the nation's largest municipally owned utility.