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Store banks on solar power

Local JCPenney store will receive about 25 percent of its power from panels as part of test program

Posted: April 8, 2009 12:40 a.m.
Updated: April 8, 2009 10:00 p.m.

Cesar Lopez, 25, walks by solar panels which were installed on the roof of the JCPenney Store located at the Valencia Town Center on Monday. The store is one of a few nationwide participating in a pilot program to test the solar panels' efficacy.

Sure, the economy’s in the tank, but things are still looking sunny for Valencia’s JCPenney store.

For the last several months, the store has been powered in part by a network of 1,265 solar panels mounted on the roof of Westfield Valencia Town Center.

The Valencia store is one of nine JCPenney locations picked for a pilot program testing out the system, JCPenney spokesman Tim Lyons said.

In general, he said, the network — which occupies 28,000 square-feet of rooftop space — provides about 25 percent of the store’s power.

The system was installed by Wisconsin-based Integrys Energy Services, Inc., Lyons said. The company covered the cost of the solar system, and JCPenney pays a set rate for power as part of a multi-year contract.

“Basically, we’re buying solar power at an attractive rate,” Lyons said.

The networks are in use at four stores in California and five stores in New Jersey. JCPenney has 1,100 stores nationwide.

“That’s a pretty big energy bill,” he said. “We want to do the right thing for JCPenney, as a company and for the environment.”

With a roughly 30-year lifespan, the system installed in Valencia generates about 272 kilowatts per day, Lyons said.

By comparison, it takes about 30 kilowatts to power an average home each day.

JCPenney is looking to add one more store to the program, Lyons said, and added the company hopes to include more stores at some point.

The company’s exploration into alternative energy includes wind power, Lyons said.

Three large wind turbines are being installed on the roof of a 1.6 million-square-foot distribution center in Nevada, he said.



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