solar panels on Kohl's roogAfter installing its first solar panels atop a California store three years ago, Kohl’s Department Stores marked a bright green milestone last week activating its 100th solar rooftop in Mays Landing, New Jersey. Solar is an integral component of the company’s commitment to be carbon neutral by the end of 2010.

The company also announced plans to expand its solar program into Pennsylvania. Currently Kohl’s has solar panels at select stores and distribution centers in California, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Oregon and Colorado

The company estimates that its energy management programs have helped prevent nearly $50 million in electricity costs over the last four years, while achieving 20 percent higher energy efficiency.

“Our 100 solar locations, commitment to build 73 LEED-certified locations and 500 ENERGY STAR stores demonstrate our ongoing commitment to sustainability with meaningful results,” said Ken Bonning, Kohl’s executive vice president of store planning and logistics.

Construction of solar arrays on the rooftops of seven Pennsylvania stores began in August and is expected to be completed by March 2011. The eight locations combined are expected to generate more than 2.3 megawatts of power annually. On average, the 1,400 panels per location will supply nearly half of each store’s energy, supply enough energy to power 36 homes annually and prevent the emissions of more than 9 million pounds of carbon dioxide over 20 years.

Kohl’s commitment to renewable energy was honored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who christened them the 2009 Green Power Partner of the Year and 2010 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year. The company also ranks first in retail, second overall among Fortune 500 companies on EPA’s quarterly listings of top green power purchasers.  

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