BJ’s Wholesale Adds Energy Storage to Solar System

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Solar provider SolarCity (Nasdaq:SCTY) and Direct Energy, an energy and energy-related services company, will provide solar electricity and solar energy storage systems at two locations for BJ’s Wholesale Club, an operator of warehouse clubs in the eastern United States. Large companies have found it’s good business to go solar, and BJ’s Wholesale Club is no exception.

Two BJ’s Wholesale Club sites in Framingham and Dedham, Massachusetts are early adopters of DemandLogic, SolarCity’s smart energy storage system for businesses and commercial users. These are the first BJ’s Clubs to install solar energy coupled with storage and will be the first two sites on the East Coast to use SolarCity’s DemandLogic platform.

“BJ’s is proud to once again partner with Direct Energy and SolarCity and apply a new smart energy storage system that expands our environmental commitment,” said Kevin Moran, manager of utility and energy services at BJ’s Wholesale Club. “Solar coupled with battery storage is a great, cost efficient and long-lasting solution for large retailers like BJ’s. Improvements like these help keep costs low so we can pass on more savings to our valued members.”

The Framingham Club will have more than 400 kW of capacity while Dedham will install a 764 kW system. Both BJ’s Clubs will be installed in conjunction with a 200 kW lithium-ion battery storage system that cuts energy costs by using stored electricity to lower peak demand. These two DemandLogic systems are expected to be installed by February 2015. The projects have the potential to save BJ’s thousands of dollars each year on their demand charges alone at each site, and also provide a long-term hedge against rising demand rates. SolarCity will also install a 1.3 MW solar system on BJ’s distribution facility in Uxbridge, Massachusetts this year.

“Pairing battery storage with solar PV systems is a new and viable opportunity that positions Direct Energy Business as a total energy management service provider for commercial and industrial customers,” said John Schultz, president of Direct Energy Business. “This long-term agreement with these two BJ locations presents an opportunity for us to expand beyond our core commodity offering and in the process, build a longer-term customer relationship.”

“DemandLogic was created to provide relief from the onerous demand charges faced by commercial facilities such as BJ’s Wholesale Club,” said Bob Rudd, director of energy storage project development at SolarCity. “These projects are a testament to our ability to provide customers with immediate savings from a combined solar-plus-storage system. We’re excited to be working with BJ’s Wholesale Club and Direct Energy Business on one of the first-of-its-kind storage installations in the country.”

SolarCity, Direct Energy Business, and BJ’s have already installed one solar system together at a North Brunswick, New Jersey site, and BJ’s boasts nearly 20 solar projects total across the United States. All three of these BJ’s projects were made possible by a dedicated investment fund created by Direct Energy and SolarCity in 2013 to finance up to $124 million in solar projects.