McDonald's in Cary, North Carolina’s is One of the First to Utilize Solar in Their Green Initiative

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McDonald's utilizes Day & Night Solar's 90ZLL canopies as a dual purpose to help reach their "green" initiative, the solar structure also provides covered parking for their patrons.

McDonald's Solar Canopy in Cary, NC

The grand opening of the new Cary, North Carolina anticipated LEED-certified restaurant is scheduled for Monday, November 18, 2013.

The iconic McDonald’s Golden Arches are still gold, but some of the restaurants are thinking more “green”, as in working to conserve resources and help preserve the environment.

In 2010 when Cary, North Carolina’s restaurant became the first McDonald’s restaurant in the state to achieve certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system, and one of the first in the US, the first question customers asked was, “If it’s green, where are the solar panels?”

Patrons associated the presence of solar panels with being green. So, when franchise owner Ric Richards decided to convert his second Cary location to focus on green building technologies, he knew solar had to play a role.

John Rockwell and Jason Greenberg from McDonald’s US Restaurant Design team worked with Bob Eaton, Managing Partner for Day & Night Solar in selecting a solar canopy structure for that restaurant. The Cary parking lot had an ideal space for a solar canopy, so they suggested that Richards contact Day & Night Solar.

Proposals and plans were submitted and finalized. Day & Night Solar began the work of installing a 39.60kW canopy that would also serve as covered parking for up to ten vehicles.

As the construction began, customers were fascinated and puzzled by the structure. When they would ask employees what was going on, the response was very positive when they learned the structure was to produce solar power.

The restaurant had been completely demolished and rebuilt in four short months. An estimated ninety-nine percent of the old restaurant waste material was diverted from landfills. The solar panels are projected to provide a portion of the electricity used by the restaurant.

“Working with Day & Night Solar was a pleasurable and seamless experience,” says Richards. “The work was completed on time and the city gave approvals with no difficulty. In addition, Day & Night provided US made products including Lifeline Energy Solar panels and keeping with its goal of helping to create local jobs, contracted with a local company Yes! Solar Solutions for the installation assistance. That went seamlessly as well.”

McDonald’s is not stopping with Cary as it continues its LEED Volume program which allows buildings to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council and Green Building Certification Institute.

McDonald’s USA has three other LEED Volume projects under construction with plans to do more. The McDonald’s LEED Volume program is available for McDonald’s independent franchisees.

The grand opening of the new Cary, North Carolina anticipated LEED-certified restaurant is scheduled for Monday, November 18, 2013.

Visit for more details on the Cary, North Carolina McDonald’s and the grand opening festivities.

To find out how solar can work for your home or business, visit

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Melinda Kershaw

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