VISTA, Calif. — Inside it may look like any other Target store, but the Vista location on Business Park Drive is a one of a kind, as the company's first store powered entirely by solar energy in the U.S.
“Oh, that’s really cool, I didn’t know it was the first one,” said longtime Target customer Debbie Wickham, whose been shopping at the Vista store for a decade.
Taking 3 years from design to completion, Target added 1,620 solar panels on the roof and 1,800 panels in the parking lot.
Green solar energy info signs throughout the lot say the panels are expected to produce up to 10 percent more renewable energy than it consumes annually.
"It is really cool because more buildings should be doing this, they have all that rooftop space,” said Brian Jones, as he was charging his electric vehicle in the Target parking lot.
In a press release, Target's Lead solar program manager Rachel Swanson stated, "The panels help offset the store's energy use. The Vista location was perfect."
The store inside uses more than 1,300 LED lights, which cut 10% of its total energy bill. In the food section, shoppers may notice each fridge uses a natural carbon dioxide refrigerant to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Environmental engineer Bill Powers in University Heights who is a big solar advocate with panels on his home since 2001, with a custom battery system and a car charging station. says this Vista Target is the perfect template for commercial buildings and parking lots.
“For the customer, it is great because look it is starting to get hot in San Diego and it’s great to pull in under a shade structure,” Powers said.
While other businesses including Costco, IKEA and Home Depot have stores with solar panels, Powers says it's rare to see a big-box store have so many renewable energy features
"If we have an outage or something like that, they are a source of power, an auxiliary power source for us that could back up the community,” Powers said.
Brian Jones said the panels are a good start, and he hopes more Targets will soon follow suit.
“All the stores be converted to net zero. I would like to see that translate into pricing, but we will see how that works out over the time,” Jones said.
Next for every Target store, the company plans to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
WATCH RELATED: 'Saudi Arabia of lithium' is in Southern California (February 2022)