Costco Warehouse Installs Off-Grid Solar to Power Fleet Electrification

Jan. 9, 2024
Costco contracted Trinity Structures to design, construct and activate the off-grid rooftop solar to charge electric trucks at the 1 million square-foot distribution center in Mira Loma, California. Trinity completed the project in barely four months.

One of the world’s biggest retailers is embracing on-site renewables and fleet electrification with a new project in southern California.

Costco contracted Snonomish, Washington-based Trinity Structures to design, construct and activate the off-grid rooftop solar to charge electric trucks at the 1 million square-foot distribution center in Mira Loma. Trinity completed the project in barely four months.

Costco, the membership retail giant with more than 850 warehouses worldwide, has released a climate action plan committing to converting depot yard trucks from diesel to alternative fuel models by 2035. The Mira Loma site recently added a 350-stall truck parking lot.

The Trinity solar electric structures could produce about 100 MWh in carbon-free energy annually, according to companies. These, coupled with storage batteries, could be enough to provide 11,750 hours of EV charging and off-set 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

The solar electrification structure, as Trinity calls it, is not connected to the grid and provides direct, on-site power, similar to a microgrid. Many fleet electrification advocates contend that microgrids will be necessary to help utilities deal with an industry-wide shift toward EVs in the near future.

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"These off-grid electrified structures enable our fleet to meet and exceed our climate action Commitments during this energy transition,” Shay Reed, assistant general merchandising manage at corporate Costco Wholesale, said in a statement. “The partnership with Trinity allowed for a solution that is creative, effective, operationally viable, and financially responsible."

Costco, which originated 48 years ago as Price Club, now generates close to $250 billion in annual revenue. The move will help the company offset more than $9.8 million in state regulatory fees under California’s Warehouse Actions and Investments to Reduce Emissions incentive program, according to the report.

Costco’s energy efficiency and decarbonization goals report aims for more than 100 on-site solar facilities, as well as at least 80 percent of clean energy purchased by 2030.

In fiscal 2022, according to the company’s Climate Action Plan, the emissions footprint totaled 174 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent. On a carbon intensity basis, however, Costco gained a 5-percent reduction to 781 metric tons per $1 million net sales.

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