Sustainability Infrastructure

Target unveils first store powered entirely by solar energy

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Story at a glance

  • Target unveiled a redesigned Vista, Calif., store that is now the company’s first net-zero energy location.
  • The store includes a massive solar carport, outfitted with 1,800 solar panels.
  • An additional 1,620 solar rooftop panels were installed along with a carbon dioxide refrigeration.

Target shoppers in California might notice huge solar panels sitting above their cars, as the retailer unveiled its first net-zero energy store that includes 1,800 solar carport panels. 

A Target store in Vista, Calif., became the testing ground for the company’s most sustainable store yet. It took three years from inception to implementation, and now the finished store includes 1,800 solar carport panels and an additional 1,620 solar rooftop panels — which is expected to produce up to a 10 percent energy surplus annually.  

That extra energy can be transmitted back to California’s local power grid.  

The newly installed solar panels will also power the store’s HVAC heating system instead of using natural gas. The store also rolled out carbon dioxide refrigeration, a natural refrigerant that Target hopes to scale up to all of its stores by 2040 in an effort to reduce its direct operations’ emissions by 20 percent. 


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“This store is truly a test kitchen for some of the features that can help us as we work toward our larger goal of 100 percent renewable electricity,” says Rachel Swanson, lead solar program manager at Target, in a statement. 

The Vista, Calif., store also installed more than 1,300 LED lights which together should cut 10 percent of Target’s total energy bill. 

Target established its sustainability strategy, called Target Forward, that aims to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions enterprise-wide by 2040. It hopes to achieve that goal by sourcing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources for its operations by 2030. 

The Vista Target store isn’t the only one with solar panels, as the company has installed rooftop solar systems on more than 540 stores and has 114 electric vehicle charging sites at its retail locations around the country.  

“Target continues to be a top corporate solar user, and we’re excited to see Target double down on its clean energy commitments with new solar carports and energy efficient buildings through this innovative and sustainable retrofit,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). 

Target isn’t the only one making headway in sustainable operations, as SEIA found more businesses are using solar energy for their operations, like Walmart, Kohl’s, Costco, Apple and IKEA. Collectively, companies with the most solar capacity in the U.S. now have 1,110 systems totaling 569 megawatts — generating enough electricity to power more than 115,000 homes.


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