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Patagonia & Home Depot Are Both Increasing Their Solar Footprints

At the end of last month, I covered a deal Home Depot made with a solar company to help move their stores’ operations to clean power. Now, I’m seeing several other similar deals in the press releases we sift through here at CleanTechnica. It’s becoming more popular than ever for corporations of all sizes to find partners for renewable energy.

The Home Depot Deal

While we already covered this last month, I want to give a quick summary of what the deal did so that readers can see the trend that’s happening here.

Home Depot has made an incredible announcement — it is sourcing 100 MW of solar energy from the largest National Grid Renewables’ complex to date, located in Denton County, Texas. With this groundbreaking mega-solar farm and its accompanying utility-scale electricity storage project, Home Depot will be able to generate enough power for 8% of its total electricity needs.

Home Depot has made a bold move in preserving the planet’s wellness by vowing to source 100% renewable electricity for its establishments come 2030. This commitment surpasses its previous goal of acquiring 335 megawatts of alternative energies by 2025 as it progresses forward in minimizing their carbon footprint and making responsible decisions that benefit generations to come.

“Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth,” said Ron Jarvis, chief sustainability officer for The Home Depot. “With this purchase, we are getting a step closer to our goal to produce or procure 100% renewable electricity equivalent to the needs of our facilities. We anticipate about three-quarters of our alternative and renewable energy capacity will come from solar energy by the end of 2023.”

The Noble project is a large-scale renewable energy endeavor situated in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). This state-of-the art initiative includes 275 MW solar and 125 MWh energy storage, which is expected to diminish as much as 450,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Since 2010, The Home Depot has been dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint by investing in renewable energy resources and optimizing operational efficiency. As a result, the electricity usage in US stores is now 50% lower than prior years. Furthering this effort towards an ecologically conscious future, more than 80 stores have set up solar farms on their rooftops while over 200 sites are utilizing fuel cells for electric production — impressive feats indeed.

But, this is just one small part of the company’s overall efforts to clean up. Responsible lumber sourcing, efficient LED store lighting, and even optimizing semi-truck loads have all contributed to the company’s reduced footprint. You can read all about that in the original article.

Very Special Solar Panels At Patagonia’s Corporate HQ

This is another one that we’ve covered, but I want to recap it because I want all of the information in one place so readers can see how similar these deals are (plus, we know you guys don’t click the links that often).

By outfitting Patagonia’s corporate headquarters with NEXT Energy Technologies’ revolutionary solar windows, this trailblazing endeavor continues to demonstrate that businesses have the power — literally and figuratively — to combat our environmental crisis. This marks the first time NEXT’s pioneering window technology has been implemented onto a building in order to generate solar energy.

Developing its own unique transparent photovoltaic (PV) covering, NEXT had a remarkable partnership with Patagonia outdoor apparel company of Ventura. Together they installed 22 energy-generating windows on the south side of Olive Building located in the heart of Patagonia’s main campus.

This building serves as a beaming example of NEXT’s transparent solar technology — with the windows seamlessly producing electricity to power the office, employee gym, and climbing wall, while simultaneously reducing strain on the grid.

Patagonia’s NEXT windows provide a direct power source to the building, but only enough with this installation to allow employees to quickly charge their phones and other gadgets while they use community spaces. Additionally, users have full access to proprietary metrics displaying real-time data related to charging and energy output so that they can be informed of the numerous advantages these windows offer.

According to NEXT, its windows can generate 20-30% of the electricity created by traditional solar panels. By capitalizing on unused exterior walls rather than limited rooftop space, these frames have a potential to provide substantial renewable power that could offset 10-40% of an average commercial building’s energy demand. What is more impressive is that they also capture and transform infrared radiation which lessens heat load in buildings while decreasing strain on its electrical infrastructure.

“Deploying this technology with Patagonia, one of the most respected brands in sustainability, is a huge milestone for us. It demonstrates Patagonia’s commitment to leading by example on climate change and shines a light on innovations that can help commercial buildings achieve net-zero energy and sustainability goals,” said Daniel Emmett, CEO and co-founder of NEXT Energy Technologies. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with Patagonia to demonstrate our technology in action and share the numerous benefits to building owners, developers and occupants, including reduced operating expenses, increased building value, improved building resilience, relieved pressure and reliance on the grid, and reduced carbon footprint.”

In this project, Walters & Wolf provided a combined design-fabrication service and installed the glazing system which included NEXT’s energy harvesting windows. SolarFab, part of GlassFab Tempering Services was responsible for fabricating these module units. This innovative technology involves printing transparent photovoltaic coating onto architectural glass before sealing it behind an additional layer of glass to be used in traditional glazing systems. The cables integrated into such systems deliver renewable energy directly to the building itself.

“We spent years of R&D to design façade systems for Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). The dream of a seamless plug and play BIPV façade is a reality, we are all very excited for the possibilities,” said Shiloh Kocelj, BIPV Director of Walters & Wolf.

This installation is the first time that NEXT has demonstrated its technology on the facade of a building. This project follows the demonstration of three other freestanding facade units containing the window technology, one each in Santa Barbara, CA, Fremont, CA, and Paris, France.

In Part 2, I’m going to talk about a third deal that Microsoft recently made to participate in producing clean solar energy.

Featured image provided by The Home Depot.

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Written By

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.


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