Learn more about solar power at REI:

  • Why Solar?
  • In the Stores

REI has been a retail leader in green building design for decades, and is committed to actively managing our energy use. When we redesigned REI Boulder in 2007, we included a solar skylight system that powers a portion of the store through building integrated photovoltaics.

It's a proven technology that allows us to generate electricity on-site. Partnered with increasing our energy efficiency and utilizing green power options, solar technology supports our long-term goal of becoming a climate-neutral company.

We deepened our commitment to solar power by installing photovoltaic technology — which converts the sun's power to electricity — on the roofs of 11 stores in 2008 and 12 more stores in 2011.

The Deciding Factors

A sunny location isn't the sole factor when choosing which REI stores to retrofit with solar roof panels. Among the other criteria we consider:

Cost — including tax incentives, utility rebates and costs of electricity

Infrastructure — the size, current condition and orientation of the store's roof

We're excited to continue incorporating sustainable business practices across the co-op and learn more about how we might expand solar technology to other REI stores in the future.

Lighting is by far the biggest use of electricity in a retail store — typically accounting for nearly 60 percent of the total usage. (Compare that to the average home, where lighting is less than 10 percent of electricity use.)

Energy efficiency is our primary strategy to cut our energy consumption. To further reduce demand, we're beginning to generate electricity at many of our stores.

We've currently invested in solar technology for 23 REI stores. Depending on its location, a solar-equipped store will generate between 10 and 100 percent of its own electricity.