Outpost Natural Foods installing solar panels in Mequon store

November 2, 2015

Outpost Natural Foods will begin installation this month of a solar panel system that will cover the rooftop of its one-year old Mequon store. The project is part of the 45-year-old co-op’s ongoing efforts to decrease its overall carbon footprint. The full solar installation represents the first of its kind for Outpost. Construction will be completed and the panels fully operational by December 31.

Sunvest Solar Energy Solutions of Pewaukee is the project developer and installer. The 56.32 kWh system is anticipated to generate about 67,300 kWh of energy annually, or roughly 10 percent of the energy use at Outpost’s Mequon store. Canadian Solar solar panels can each generate 320 watts of power.

Total project cost is $152,054. A grant from Wisconsin Focus on Energy for $31,343 will help offset the project costs. Energy cost savings on the system will average $7,458 annually in today’s energy market, according to Outpost’s communication director Margaret Bert Mittelstadt.

Fifty percent of Outpost’s energy use will continue to be offset by renewable energy credits (REC). This, combined with other organization-wide energy cost saving measures, has landed Outpost on the United States EPA’s Top 30 Retail List representing the largest green power users among retail partners, nationally, within the Green Power Partnership. (http://goo.gl/m817kv)

Outpost’s Mequon store, which opened in spring 2014, was built using state of the art green building technology, including rain gardens with native plants to manage storm water runoff, material reclamation from the existing site, energy efficient lighting, heating and cooling systems, and raised gardens to grow food used in the store’s café. The rooftop was designed for a future solar panel installation. When completed, the new solar array will be the largest of its kind in Ozaukee County.

“This project furthers Outpost’s mission and helps the co-op reach its energy goals. We are proud to be a leader in sustainability in our community and beyond,” said Outpost’s sustainability manager, Jessy Servi.

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