ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Smith's Food & Drug Stores, a division of the Kroger Co., announced Monday that it has completed the installation of photovoltaic energy panels at two stores here, the first Kroger-owned stores to use solar panels.
The solar system on the roof of each Smith's store consists of 442 panels, each containing cells that convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. The power is then fed into an inverter that converts the DC into the alternating current (AC) that is used in the store. The electricity is then synchronized with the utility grid, allowing the panels to offset utility power plant generation.
The solar energy output from these two store systems is 320,000 kilowatt-hours, eliminating the need for that amount of energy from fossil fuel sources. It is estimated this energy savings would heat and cool 30 homes in New Mexico for one year.
"We have done a lot of work over the last several years to integrate sustainable practices into our everyday business operations," said Rodney McMullen, president and chief operating officer of Kroger. "Today, we are proud to unveil Kroger's first operational solar energy project. Smith's has done a tremendous job bringing this to realization. Kroger will continue reducing energy consumption and testing technologies that support future use of alternative energy sources."
Smith's was selected to be among the first Kroger division stores to install photovoltaic panels because of New Mexico's favorable sunny climate and the economic incentives offered by energy provider PNM towards installation of renewable energy sources. Affordable Solar, based in Albuquerque, designed and installed the panels. Kroger is also developing photovoltaic systems in stores located in Wilsonville, Ore. (Fred Meyer) and Cincinnati (Kroger).