Toys 'R' Us to Build Largest Solar Rooftop
“Toys ‘R’ Us”... Simply saying it is enough to throw most children into a fit of joyous toy-lusting hysteria. But alternative energy buffs may soon be sharing the children’s excitement as the toy distribution giant announces the construction of North America’s largest rooftop solar installation to be featured on the company’s Flanders, New Jersey (USA) distribution center.
The 5.38 MW solar installation will begin construction this summer. The rooftop megaproject will cover 20 acres of roof space and generate 72 percent of the facility’s electricity needs.
Toys ‘R’ Us’ solar rooftop will feature 37,000 thin-film United Solar photovoltaic panels. Constellation Energy will build, own and maintain the rooftop solar system and Toys ‘R’ Us will purchase electricity generated by the system through a 20-year power purchase agreement.
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Toys ‘R’ Us has been extending renewable energy to various store and locations. The company’s Babies ‘R’ Us brand got a renewable energy upgrade with a solar rooftop installed at a North Brunswick, New Jersey store location. The ‘R’ Superstore in Secaucus, New Jersey will also feature a solar rooftop to be installed this spring in partnership with Hartz Solar.
However, don’t think that just because Toys ‘R’ Us is getting a solar makeover that there isn’t plenty more work to be done as far as sustainability is concerned. Let’s not forget that the majority of toys on the market today are made of petroleum-based plastics, lending to the oil supply problem facing the world. What’s worse, many plastic toys are made with hard-to-recycle plastics, and the presence of multiple types of materials in a single toy makes recycling an even more difficult affair. What would be exciting is to see a toy behemoth like Toys ‘R’ Us promoting toys made from easily recyclable materials or even bioplastics.