Chain Stores Said to Lead Firms in Use of Sun Power 

By Diane Cardwell | New York Times: The aisles of a typical Walgreens drugstore are stacked with products promoting their green attributes, whether they are towels made from recycled paper or makeup brushes made from fast-growing grass.

But increasingly, on the roof, a less visible green endeavor is under way, in the form of solar panels feeding power to the store.

Walgreens, which has installed 134 solar systems across the country and has plans for many more, says its solar program stems from the brand’s connection to healthful living and a bottom-line desire to stabilize energy costs.

But it has plenty of company from other big-box retailers. Large chain stores, more than any other type of business, rely on rooftop solar power to help meet their energy needs, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar Initiative, an advocacy group.

“Five or six years ago, you probably would have read about a pledge in an annual report about what they’re doing for the environment,” said Rhone Resch, chief executive of the association, a trade group. “Now what you’re seeing is it’s a smart investment that they’re making for their shareholders, and this is a standard business practice.”

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