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Retailers Turn to Solar Energy Slowly

By Angelique Soenarie and Ryan Randazzo for The Arizona Republic

The Fry’s Marketplace at 2727 W. Bell Road, Phoenix, has a solar array that covers most of the parking lot, which is estimated to generate 80,000 kilowatt-hours a month and a 20 percent cost savings for the retailer. Photo credit: John Samora/The Republic

The Fry’s Marketplace at 2727 W. Bell Road, Phoenix, has a solar array that covers most of the parking lot, which is estimated to generate 80,000 kilowatt-hours a month and a 20 percent cost savings for the retailer. Photo credit: John Samora/The Republic

Retailers in Arizona are slowly turning to solar energy in an effort to reduce climate change, keep energy costs low and create goodwill with their customers.

Fry’s Food, for example, is piloting a solar program with a PowerParasol at its Phoenix store on Bell Road near Interstate 17. The solar shade structure covers 170 spaces of the grocery store’s parking lot and is estimated to generate 80,000 kilowatt-hours a month.

Fry’s is not the first retailer in the Phoenix area to dip its toe into solar usage.

SanTan Village in Gilbert recently installed 2,877 solar panels. Desert Ridge Marketplace in Phoenix installed solar panels four years ago. And Glimcher Realty, the owner of Scottsdale Quarter, is considering incorporating solar energy as part of future expansions there.

The Fry’s project was able to take advantage of the Arizona Public Service Co. incentive program before that program ended last year. Without the incentives from APS, the number of commercial solar projects has declined this year.

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