In recent months, chains including Wal-Mart Stores, Kohl’s, Safeway and Whole Foods Market have installed solar panels on roofs of their stores to generate electricity on a large scale….
In the coming months, 85 Kohl’s stores will get solar panels; 43 already have them. “We want to keep pushing as many as we possibly can,” said Ken Bonning, executive vice president for logistics at Kohl’s.
Macy’s, which has solar panels atop 18 stores, plans to install them on another 40 by the end of this year. Safeway is aiming to put panels atop 23 stores….
Wal-Mart [is considering a] program that would put panels and other renewable technologies at hundreds of stores.
All that is left for the Sunday NYT story, “Giant Retailers Look to Sun for Energy Savings,” is to explain why these bottom-line savvy companies are making such large bets on rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV), even though the power is widely thought to be expensive.
This should be incredibly easy — assuming this reporter or her editor even bothers to read their own paper. After all, just a few months ago a different NYT reporter explained it all in a story titled, “Pay for the Power, Not the Panels“:
The new financial techniques allow the solar companies to separate the capital expense of the systems they sell and the tax benefits that accrue to the buyer from the final costs of the electricity produced. In doing so, the solar companies have made it possible for more corporations and even some homeowners to kill two birds with one stone: doing good for the environment while cutting the cost of the power they consume.
[Small note to NYT: In an environmental story, maybe use a different metaphor than bird-killing.]
That’s right. Corporations are actually cutting their electricity costs by installing solar panels. But you would never know that from Sunday’s story. In fact, you’d think these companies were throwing away their money: