C-Stores Upgrade to LED, Add Solar Power

C-store retailers are aiming for ambitious goals for lighting and energy efficiency this year, especially with LED and solar energy.

Pilot Co. plans to complete its LED upgrade project across all remaining stores by the end of 2021 – a six-year project that includes its more than 750 stores in North America. The Knoxville, Tenn.-Based chain will also upgrade 120 pilot stores with new LEDs in outdoor signs and canopies.

“The biggest benefits of LED lighting for Pilot are improved lighting in our stores, increased safety, easier maintenance and energy savings compared to older lighting models previously used in our stores,” said Pilot Co. Senior Manager for Facility Services and Energy Management Bryan Martin. “By installing new LED models in Pilot stores nationwide, the average store can save over 50% on their energy costs.”

Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & amp; Go, with more than 400 stores in 11 states, will retrofit interior and exterior lighting to 100% LED in 18 stores by 2021. In addition, all new construction stores will be designed with 100% LED lighting systems.

Kum & amp; Go Energy Manager Kurt Bohlman pointed out both the reduction in maintenance requirements and costs and lower energy consumption and costs as major benefits of LED to the chain along with improved customer experience and safety.

“Depending on the existing lighting systems and system type, LEDs are retrofitted at Kum & amp; Go-shops have reduced electrical consumption of lighting from 57% to 86% and the total electrical consumption of the plant from 10% to 35%, ”said Bohlman. “The average simple repayment for LED retrofitting is 3.8 years.”

Solar Power Opportunities

Solar Power Opportunities

In June 2020, Charlottesville, USA-based Tiger Fuel Co., which operates nine c-stores under the ‘The Market’ banner, announced the acquisition of 40% of the shares in Altenergy Inc., a solar energy company also headquartered in Charlottesville , Va. The acquisition is expected to be completed in late spring this year.

Two of Tiger Fuel’s marketplaces currently use solar energy with solar panels covering up to half of their electrical needs. The company expects to add solar energy to all the sites where it owns real estate, including its bulk facilities.

Tiger Fuel President Gordon Sutton expects to see more retailers use solar energy in the next few years.

“It’s a good return on your capital, and if you’re at the forefront of the movement, it’s a great way to differentiate yourself from your competition,” Sutton said. “I also believe that as more and more of us add charging stations to our repertoire and our demand for electricity increases, we will be well served by generating as much of the electricity as we can on site.”