The retail REIT has
installed PV solar energy
arrays at Bridgewater Promenade
and Edgewater Commons.

EDGEWATER, NJ-Kimco Realty Corp. has installed photovoltaic (PV) solar energy arrays at its retail properties in here, bringing the company’s portfolio of solar-powered centers in the state to six.  

But they will be the last in the state for a while, as a turbulent SREC market is pushing the New Hyde Park, NY-based retail owner and developer to look to expanding the program outside of New Jersey.

“We’ve found that solar fits very nicely into our model,” Will Teichman, Kimco’s director of sustainability, tells GlobeSt.com.

The array at Bridgewater Promenade has been launched and is already producing power, while Edgewater Commons will begin production this week. The two new PV systems will generate an estimated 1.3 million kilowatts of zero-emission power per year, and are estimated to meet 60% – 80% of the annual energy needs of several major retailers in the centers. Kimco has over 3 megawatts of energy production capacity across its six solar-enabled properties in New Jersey, equivalent to the average usage of 300 households.

Kimco, with properties in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Mexico and South America, has a corporate responsibility initiative, andis a member of the US Department of Energy’s Commercial Real Estate Alliance (CREEA), which promotes technology to reduce the energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of the commercial real estate market.

The company installed its first solar array at its center in North Brunswick, NJ in 2010. To date, New Jersey is the only state where Kimco has installed solar installations. But further development in New Jersey is on hold since the collapse of the solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market in 2011. The credits are sold to offset the cost of installation. However, prices which had risen as high as $670 per credit most recently have traded at $225 each, according to SREC Trade.

“The robustness of the SREC market at the time made New Jersey a logical candidate,” Teichman says. “Part of the reason that we’re expanding our efforts outside the state is that the SREC market has been so volatile.”

Instead, Kimco is looking at installations elsewhere, though solar is facing challenges: While component prices are declining, which should be helpful, incentives also are decreasing, Teichman says. But the savings justify trying to make it work.

“The sites thus far have performed within expectations, which is why we are exploring other opportunities,” Teichman says.

These include other energy-saving alternatives for at least some of Kimco’s 130 million square feet in 44 US states.

“Our solar program fits into a larger initiative,” Teichman says. “We’re definitely evaluating other initiatives as well. There are a lot of different opportunities in small scale projects. We’re really excited about the prospects.”