Pedestrian Shops Harnessing The Energy Of The Sun

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Pedestrian Shops, a locally owned and operated retailer, may have become the world's first solar-powered shoe store this week, when its 10.32-kilowatt photovoltaic array went into service.

Pedestrian Shops, a locally owned and operated retailer, may have become the world's first solar-powered shoe store this week, when its 10.32-kilowatt photovoltaic array went into service. Namaste Solar Electric installed the solar panels and supporting equipment on the flat roof of the new 1155 Canyon Building. The system is owned and operated by the Pedestrian Shops as Pedestrian Energy, and will provide clean electricity preventing 28,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year from entering the Earth's atmosphere.

Pedestrian Shops, lacking adequate roof space on its own historic building for a solar PV array, located its system a few blocks away on a building with excellent solar exposure. Under a Solar Power Purchase Agreement or PPA, Pedestrian Shops will sell more than 14,000 kWh of solar electricity each year for use in the 1155 Canyon Building, with any momentary excess going to the local power grid. For the next 20 years the electricity will cost 15 percent less than Xcel Energy's prevailing rates. Owners of 1155 Canyon have leased the sunny roof space to Pedestrian Shops for those same 20 years.

Typically a significant amount of upfront capital is required to finance installation of a solar electric system. The Solar Power Purchase Agreement removes the capital requirement for building owners who have sunny roof space and can act as a "host" for the solar PV array, as 1155 Canyon is doing. The arrangement is also attractive to Pedestrian Shops, which will benefit from significant rebates, renewable energy credit payments, and investment tax credits.

Solar PPA relationships are relatively new in Colorado. Xcel Energy has created specific rules for PPAs developed in its service territory. Namaste Solar's expertise is being used in multiple Colorado projects that employ a PPA financing structure.

Like many other downtown Boulder businesses, Pedestrian Shops has been offsetting its energy usage with Renewable Energy Credits for several years, which made it one of the first virtually wind-powered shoe stores in the United States. The company also employs other green energy strategies, including energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and recycling.

This first Pedestrian Energy project will generate energy equal to nearly 50 percent of the power necessary to operate the Pedestrian Shops store at 1425 Pearl St. on Boulder's downtown mall.

"We must take positive steps in response to climate change," said Richard Polk, president of Pedestrian Corp., which owns Pedestrian Shops. "Our goal with Pedestrian Energy is to demonstrate that business can go even further than, as in our case, selling shoes without leaving a carbon footprint."

Stephen Irvin, co-owner of Namaste Solar Electric, said, "Pedestrian and 1155 Canyon have taken a large step forward in the name of environmental leadership -- their relationship should be seen as a model for businesses in our community. It has been a pleasure to develop this project whereby Pedestrian can take advantage of state and federal investment tax benefits while 1155 Canyon buys clean electricity at a cheaper price from Pedestrian Energy, the Pedestrian Shops' solar power company."

1155 Canyon

1155 Canyon is Boulder's first mixed-use building with shell and core certified as LEED Silver. LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Housing both commercial and residential units, 1155 Canyon also hosts its own solar PV and solar thermal arrays to generate energy and heat. The majority of 1155 Canyon's roof is used for solar energy collection by Pedestrian and the building's own arrays.

Namaste Solar Electric

Namaste Solar Electric is an employee-owned solar electric company dedicated to the betterment of the planet by bringing clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy technologies to homes, businesses, and nonprofits throughout the Denver/Boulder area. Integrating both holistic and traditional business methods, Namaste Solar is the leading solar electric company in Colorado with more than 350 solar electric systems installed since 2005. With a values-based business model and reputation for philanthropy, Namaste Solar is a likely partner for local businesses that want to make a positive impact on the community by purchasing a solar electric system. Namaste Solar is committed to maintaining the highest standards of environmental stewardship, customer satisfaction, employee morale, community involvement, and professional integrity.

Pedestrian Shops

The Pedestrian Shops, a 39-year-old family-owned company, operates two Boulder stores, one on the Pearl Street Mall and the other in The Village shopping center, as well as the web site, Pedestrian Shops sells the world's most comfortable brands of footwear and encourages its customers to enjoy life and take a walk.

Richard Polk

Richard's interest in Solar Energy began long before he became concerned about energy shortages and climate change. In 1963 he won a first-place award for his junior high school science project on solar energy, and 40 years later he is still promoting solar energy. On Dec. 14, 2006, an innovative solar sales tax rebate ordinance he proposed while a Boulder city council member became law. The ordinance provides for rebating a portion of the sales tax paid on the purchase of photovoltaic or solar thermal systems. Thirty-five percent of the rebate is returned to the person or business that paid the sales tax and the remaining 65 percent is used to install renewable energy systems on affordable housing and site-based non-profit organizations, adding a unique social equity component to the solar ordinance. In the ordinance's first 12 months, the amount of solar installed in Boulder more than doubled; in year two an increase of more than 1,000 percent in watts installed is expected. Richard continues to promote solar energy by serving on the customer advisory board of Xcel Energy's Renewable Energy Trust, as well as through other projects including Pedestrian Energy.

Photos available on request.

Contacts: Richard Polk at Pedestrian, 303-641-8639, Richard @

Stephen Irvin at Namaste, 303-261-2898, Ski @

Boulder's Pedestrian Shops Builds a Solar Power Plant at 1155 Canyon


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