Target’s New Store Design Powered by Solar Energy Could Be the Sustainable Shop of the Future

Target has transformed one of its California stores into its most sustainable store yet.

Powered mostly by solar energy, the new exterior design at its Vista, Calif. location is the latest innovation for the Minneapolis-based company as its moves further into executing its sustainability strategy.

The store, which is about 40 miles north of San Diego, now boasts 3,420 solar panels across its roof and newly installed carport canopies. Target said that its new design will generate more renewable energy than it needs annually to operate and will test multiple innovations to reduce the building’s emissions. The retailer said it expects to produce up to a 10% energy surplus each year from this design and will transmit it back to the local power grid.

Target also said that the building now features elements to further reduce emissions, such as powering its HVAC heating through rooftop solar panels, instead of natural gas. Additionally, the store switched to carbon dioxide refrigeration, a natural refrigerant, that Target will scale chain-wide by 2040 to reduce its direct operations’ emissions by 20%.

Target said it has now applied for net zero energy certification from the International Living Future Institute.

“We’ve been working for years at Target to shift toward sourcing more renewable energy and further reducing our carbon footprint, and our Vista store’s retrofit is the next step in our sustainability journey and a glimpse of the future we’re working toward,” said John Conlin, SVP of properties at Target. “Our new stores and remodel programs are designed to help achieve our sustainability goals as we test, learn and scale our innovations over time across our operations.”

This isn’t the first time Target has used solar to help power its stores. The retailer said that more than 25% of its facilities have some rooftop solar panels in order to offset energy costs and reduce its emissions. Its Vista store is one of 542 Target buildings nationwide with solar installations, and the retailer said the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) recognizes it as the top U.S. Corporate Onsite Installer with 255 megawatts of energy.

“Target continues to be a top corporate solar user, and we’re excited to see Target double down on its clean energy commitments with new solar carports and energy efficient buildings through this innovative and sustainable retrofit,” added Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of SEIA. “We commend the Target team for their leadership and commitment to sustainable operations as the retailer continues to raise the bar for how companies can invest in their business and create a more sustainable future.”

This news is the latest move for the big-box retailer as it builds on its “Target Forward” sustainability strategy. With this plan, the retailer has committed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions enterprise-wide by 2040, and since 2017 Target said it has already reduced its direct operations’ emissions by nearly 27%. One of the ways it intends to reach its net zero goal is through sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewable sources for its operations by 2030.

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