Outfitter Dresses Flagship Store with Solar Panels

John Davis

Retail outfitter L.L.Bean is turning to the power of the sun for its flagship store.

The company says it has used stimulus bucks to install a 180-tube solar hot water collector array that provides 100 percent of the hot water to the Freeport, Maine outlet:

The Efficiency Maine Commercial Grants ­ funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) ­ pay up to 50 percent of eligible project costs.
The stimulus funding reduced payback projections for L.L.Bean’s new hot water solar system to less than 5 years, with immediate cost savings. L.L.Bean worked with Revision Energy of Portland on design and installation of the solar hot water system.

“The ability to create affordable, on-site renewable energy is a priority for L.L.Bean,” says L.L.Bean spokeswoman Laurie Brooks. “We’ve been using solar hot water panels at our corporate offices since the early 1980s, and they’re still working great. Solar panels are efficient, clean and require minimal maintenance.”

Visitors to L.L.Bean’s first Green Expo in June were able to see the newly installed panels that produce hot water, courtesy of the sun, for the store’s two cafes and public and employee restrooms. In the first week after installation, the solar system was generating 100 percent of the hot water for the store.

“We want visitors to see these solar panels and make the positive connection that L.L.Bean is investing in and promoting renewable energy,” says Brooks.
“The more businesses that make these types of changes, the better. It’s our hope that eventually green technology will become mainstream, and prices for
solar technology will become more affordable.”

The company was also able to use some state and federal tax credits and rebates to fund the project.