Shopping center owner Kimco installs 6th solar array in NJ

Shopping center owner Kimco installs 6th solar array in NJKimco Realty, one of the nation’s largest shopping center owners, is adding solar to the roofs of its buildings.

The company installed 1.3 megawatts of solar on two shopping centers in Bridgewater and Edgewater, N.J., at the end of 2011. The two new systems bring the company’s total number of centers outfitted with solar to six. All six centers are in New Jersey.

The new solar photovoltaic installations should provide 60 to 80 percent of the energy tenants use, according to a release from Kimco.

“Kimco owns over 900 shopping centers across the US,” said the company’s sustainability director Will Teichman. “That’s a big footprint.”

Concerned with the size of its footprint, Kimco administration hired Teichman three years ago and committed itself to developing sustainability measures at its centers.

“Solar is one of our initial efforts,” Teichman said. “It’s a great way to create value for the company and for the tenants.”

Teichman said the tenants are happy to have clean energy at the same price and sometimes even a lower price than typical power from the utility grid. It also produces a new revenue stream for Kimco.

“It’s an obvious win, win between Kimco and the tenants,” Teichman said.

The company installed its first solar array in New Brunswick three years ago and had enough success with that project that it’s quickly expanding its commitment to solar.

All six of Kimco’s New Jersey buildings outfitted with solar produce more than 3 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 300 average households.

“We are taking steps to assess solar’s viability across our portfolio,” Teichman said. “We’re definitely interested in looking outside the state of New Jersey.”

Strong solar incentives in New Jersey make the technology attractive there, Teichman said.

“Solar is a really market-specific opportunity,” Teichman said. “The factors have to be right in each specific market.”