Tops effort to boost solar power at stores

WILLIAMSVILLE — Tops Friendly Markets has teamed up with Convergent Energy + Power in an effort to deliver more renewable energy to upstate New Yorkers in the form of community solar paired with battery storage. As a result of this partnership, more than 75 Tops stores will be powered by the solar farms, which will reduce the stores’ carbon footprint.

The solar-plus-storage projects developed by Convergent provide Tops and upstate New Yorkers access to solar energy whether or not the sun is shining and reduce the state’s reliance on power plants during peak demand hours.

Sustainability has always been at the core of Tops’ mission, the company said in a statement, which includes upholding standards that ensure the company reduces environmental waste and energy consumption while providing its customers with sustainably sourced, high-quality products. Convergent is dedicated to mitigating the impact of a warming planet on current and future generations by advancing the clean energy transition, so a partnership of this nature seemed only fitting.

“Our ongoing commitment to sustainability is met with enthusiasm and resolve every day, as we work to ensure we leave our communities—and our planet—better for the next generation,” says John Persons, president and chief operating officer, Tops Friendly Markets. “We are excited to be working with Convergent, a values-aligned business with the expertise to deliver solar energy to our stores as efficiently as possible.”

Convergent, founded in 2011, has a decade of expertise developing energy storage-led assets, with approximately half of its portfolio comprised of battery storage paired with solar PV, or solar-plus-storage.

“We are enormously proud of the opportunity to simultaneously reduce emissions and support economic growth right here in our home state,” says Frank Genova, Convergent’s chief operating and financial officer. “As the largest private employer in Western New York, Tops is an ideal, New York-headquartered partner that shares our commitment to corporate, social, and environmental responsibility.”

Community solar-plus-storage, facilitated by the Value of Distributed Energy Resource tariff (VDER) in New York, allows the benefits of solar energy flow to businesses and individuals from off-site arrays and is an increasingly popular way to increase access to renewable generation. According to NYSERDA, the program has reduced CO2e emissions in the state by 9.1M metric tons. The projects support New York’s landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act), which aims for 70% of New York’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030. ISG Enterprise Energy Solutions (ISG Energy), which delivers customized energy and sustainability solutions that reduce costs, manage risk, and improve competitive position, facilitated the introduction between Tops and Convergent. PowerMarket, a company which provides subscriber acquisition, management, and billing services to the community solar industry, advised Convergent on this transaction and provides subscription management services to these projects.