The North Face, a supplier of outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear, announced its completion of a 1MW solar electricity system at its West Coast distribution center in Visalia, California. The new system will power between 25 and 30 percent of the facility’s energy needs. It was designed, engineered and installed by Suntech Energy Solutions, while financed, owned and operated by Recurrent Energy. 100 percent of the electricity will be sold to The North Face under a power purchase agreement from Recurrent Energy.
The system is part of The North Face’s climate change strategy, accompanying its membership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Climate Leaders program and an agreement with Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). The BEF agreement aims to counteract 100 percent of the CO2 emissions that come with energy use for the The North Face’s North American operations.
“We are deeply committed to exploring new and creative solutions for energy reduction and utilizing this implementation to foster energy education throughout the local community,” said Steve Rendle, President of The North Face. “Through our partnership with Recurrent Energy and Suntech Energy Solutions, we are proud to be hosting a tremendously innovative system that will yield above-average energy production and financial savings.”
Suntech’s design for the system, locates it over a storm water retention area on the property. This allows for dual use and provides a buffer to adjacent properties. The design cancels out the need for a new drainage system and provides a clean, noise-free use of the land. The system is also designed to use RayTracker Gc single-axis trackers, on which 5,504 of Suntech’s PV panels are mounted. The RayTracker will follow the sun as it moves and maximize the amount of energy produced.
The North Face is also working with BEF to donate to its innovative educational outreach program, Solar 4R Schools, which provides tool kits, teacher training and classroom education program for the promotion of solar and wind energy. It is one way that The North Face is helping to encourage alternative energy use and educated communities on the solar energy system.