Fulfillment is getting greener this summer at Toys R Us as the retailer plans to flip the switch on solar energy systems at a pair of distribution centers. The toy retailer’s DC in Flanders, NJ will account for the largest rooftop solar power installation in North America.
Toys R Us spokesperson Katelyn DeRogatis says the solar energy systems will produce more than 6.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity annually. The other rooftop solar installation will be at the company’s superstore in Secaucus, NJ.
DeRogatis says Toys R Us partnered with Constellation Energy on the Flanders solar power system project. Through a power purchase agreement, she explains, Constellation Energy builds, owns and maintains the rooftop solar power system. In return, Toys R Us purchases the energy generated by the solar power system, which was designed to support 72% of the load. Any additional energy needed to power the facility will be purchased directly from the utility company.
Why did Toys R Us pursue solar options?
“We continually look for improvements throughout our business to instill environmentally responsible practices that conserve energy, minimize waste and reduce the company’s overall impact on the environment,” DeRogatis explains.
New Jersey’s leadership in providing renewable, clean energy opportunities for companies helped pave the way for an installation of this size, she adds. The Flanders DC comprises 1.5 million sq. ft. and its roof encompasses 32 acres, DeRogatis says.
Solar-powered energy is not only sustainable, DeRogatis says, it is renewable, which means it cannot run out over time. “The solar panels used to generate electricity at the Flanders DC do not produce carbon emissions or have an adverse mark on the environment.”
Consequently, the company doesn’t need to rely on nearly as much fossil-fuel generated energy to power the facility.
While there are no upfront installation costs for Toys R Us associated with the solar installation, the company invested in a 20-year power purchase agreement with Constellation Energy to purchase the energy output from the Flanders rooftop solar system at a contracted rate, she says. DeRogatis declined to provide financial specifics on the 20-year power agreement.
Depending on weather conditions, the system is expected to produce about 6.362,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year and is estimated to generate 72% of the electrical needs for the facility. “This will save an estimated $366,000 per year in utility costs at the facility, with a cumulative savings of about $7 million over 20 years, assuming a utility rate increase of 3%,” DeRogatis says.