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Truliant will install solar panels at Hanes Mall – Greensboro News & Record

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WINSTON-SALEM — Truliant Federal Credit Union plans to put the 51,000 square feet of rooftop on its yet-to-open operations center here to productive use.
The company said Thursday it will install an array of 880 solar panels on the three-story former Macy’s space at Hanes Mall that Truliant bought in June 2018 and is repurposing to accommodate as many as 550 employees.
The 151,400-square-foot operations center, across Hanes Mall Boulevard from Truliant’s corporate headquarters, is scheduled to open late this year.
The panels will produce 474,000 kilowatt-hours of power in their first year, the company said. That’s enough to serve the equivalent of more than 44 average American homes.
Winston-Salem Journal The solar panels to be installed on Truliant’s planned operations center, in the former Macy’s space at Hanes Mall, will produce enough power to serve the equivalent of more than 44 average American homes.
Truliant said it expects to install the system this summer and activate it in the fall.
“Outfitting our Operations Center with solar panels is a meaningful way to move Truliant’s corporate sustainability efforts forward,” company president and CEO Todd Hall said in a statement. “As we add facilities to support a growing workforce, we continue to examine ways to limit our carbon footprint and lead in our communities through action.”
Any unused power from the system will be transferred to the electric grid, and Duke Energy will credit the company based on the amount.
Clean-energy advocates praised Truliant’s decision.
“This is a great example of the strong corporate commitment we’ve seen to clean energy here within the state of North Carolina,” said Matt Abele, director of marketing and communications at the N.C. Sustainable Energy Association. “The financial sector has been quick to realize the benefits of clean energy, in terms of meeting their own (environmental, social and governance) goals, but also as a solid investment opportunity.”
The solar project will be the first at the mall, although Kohl’s installed a slightly larger system at its nearby Hanes Mall Boulevard location.
Rooftop solar panels at Target on University Parkway produce more than 700,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to power 56 homes for a year.
A report released in February by the Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center and the Frontier Group concluded that if all of North Carolina’s nearly 3,700 large retail structures were equipped with rooftop solar arrays, they would generate enough energy to power more than 300,000 average American homes a year.
“Progress like the Truliant Federal Credit Union solar project demonstrates Winston-Salem’s potential to grow solar within city lines,” said Krista Early of the Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center. “Local and state leaders should set their sights on helping solar power thrive in Winston-Salem and throughout North Carolina.”
National retail chains that have made rooftop solar a priority in other states haven’t done so here, said Steve Kalland, executive director of the N.C. Clean Energy Center at N.C. State University.
“Rooftop solar is a tougher game in North Carolina than it would be if we had a public policy goal to increase it,” he explained.
For the most part, the state’s goals related to climate change deal broadly with targeted reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, and not with potential clean-energy options for reaching them. One exception is the goal to have 1.25 million registered electric vehicles in the state by 2030.
Community-minded organizations and companies are more likely to go solar regardless of a state’s clean-energy policies, Kalland added.
Charlotte-based Renu Energy Solutions will handle the installation on the Truliant project.
The operations center will be Truliant’s second recent overhaul of a big-box store. In 2020, the company opened a training facility in a 28,000-square-foot former Office Depot, also on Hanes Mall Boulevard at the Pavilions Shopping Center.
Truliant, with $3.7 billion in assets, serves more than 280,000 members and has more than 30 locations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
John Deem covers climate change and the environment in the Triad and Northwest North Carolina. His work is funded by a grant from the 1Earth Fund and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.
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Winston-Salem Journal The solar panels to be installed on Truliant’s planned operations center, in the former Macy’s space at Hanes Mall, will produce enough power to serve the equivalent of more than 44 average American homes.
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