Direct Energy, one of North America’s largest energy and energy-related services companies, and SolarCity, America’s No. 1 full-service solar power provider, announced they will provide solar electricity to a club location of BJ’S Wholesale Club, a leading operator of warehouse clubs in the eastern United States. SolarCity will install solar panels at BJ’s North Brunswick, N.J. location at little to no cost, and BJ’s will pay for the solar electricity produced at a discount to current energy rates.
BJ’s North Brunswick location is the first customer to benefit from Direct Energy and SolarCity’s new collaboration to provide solar electricity directly to businesses, which can make it possible for businesses to pay less than current rates for clean power. The companies are providing the BJ’s club with solar electricity through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), which is part of the dedicated investment fund capable of financing up to $124 million in solar projects created by Direct Energy and SolarCity last month.
SolarCity’s initial design for the 110,000-square-foot BJ’s Wholesale Club features more than 1,600 panels to provide approximately 400 kilowatts of generation capacity. Based on the current design and the historical energy usage at the North Brunswick BJ’s site, SolarCity expects BJ’s to pay more than 10 percent below current utility rates for solar electricity and to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the agreement.
BJ’s Wholesale Club has already realized the benefits of solar with various installations at sites in six East Coast states. In fact, the North Brunswick location is the 18 installation in the BJ’s Wholesale Club chain.
“Direct Energy and SolarCity made this decision a no-brainer for us,” said Kevin Moran, manager of utility and energy services at BJ’s Wholesale Club. “We’ll experience immediate savings with our new solar power system, and will continue to enjoy the benefits for two decades – a great solution to the growing costs of powering large clubs like ours.”
“Solar is a viable opportunity that positions Direct Energy Business as a total energy management service provider for commercial and industrial customers,” said Paul Dobson, acting president of Direct Energy Business. “This long-term agreement with BJ’s presents an opportunity for us to expand beyond our core commodity offering and in the process, build a longer-term customer relationship.”
“BJ’s Wholesale has been a supporter of clean energy already, and the North Brunswick installation will allow them to expand their solar electricity generation, and could allow them to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process,” said Lee Keshishian, SolarCity’s regional vice president on the east coast. “Direct Energy has wasted no time helping to make solar more accessible and affordable to its commercial and industrial customers. We expect this to be a great partnership.”
— Solar Builder magazine