Retail Goes Solar
By Jack Uldrich April 30, 2007 - MotleyFool.com
Advocates of solar power were given
additional reasons to be bullish about the industry's
long-term prospects this past week after two large
retailers -- Tiffany & Co (NYSE: TIF) and Kohl's Corp
(NYSE: KSS) -- announced plans to install major solar
Of the two, Kohl's is the more significant
deal. According to company officials, the giant retailer
will immediately convert 24 of its 80 stores in California
beginning in May, and within a year it plans to convert
more than 75% of its department stores in the state.
When completed, the solar installations, which will
be set up and serviced by SunEdison, could generate
close to 30 megawatts of power.
Tiffany's project will deploy 1.3 megawatts
of solar power (the equivalent of powering about 1,300
homes) at two of the company's distribution centers.
When operational, the solar arrays, which will be
supplied by SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR), will contribute
an estimated 30% of the distribution centers' electrical
load at peak demand times.
In both instances, the companies will
need time to recover their up front investments. Therefore,
I wouldn't encourage investors of Kohl's or Tiffany's
to get too excited about the news from an immediate
investment perspective. For investors interested in
solar, though, the fact that such large retailers
have now joined the likes of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG),
Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Applied Materials (Nasdaq:
AMAT) in installing large amounts of solar power is
welcome news because it strongly suggests that businesses
are no longer turning to solar power just to improve
their environmental image -- they are doing it because
it makes economic sense.