SolarCity’s shares popped Tuesday after the alternative energy company announced a deal to install solar panel systems in Whole Foods Market stores across the U.S.The plan aims to increase the production of solar power and offset the need for a traditional grid power while helping the organic food store save money, according to the companies’ joint press release. In total, the energy firm will retrofit up to 100 Whole Foods stores with rooftop solar panels.
“SolarCity will custom design each solar power system to maximize the amount of grid power offset and expects to begin installation this spring,” according to the statement. “Whole Foods Market will also save money with the new solar installations by purchasing power from SolarCity at a discount to current electricity costs, locking in low solar energy rates for years into the future.”
Once the deal is completed, the solar power systems are expected to place Whole Foods Market within the top 25 corporate solar users in the U.S. “We feel that increasing support for renewable energy is a good thing for our company overall and hedging against potential rising energy costs going forward is also important,” Kathy Loftus, global leader in sustainability for Whole Foods Market, told CNBC.The announcement of the deal comes only a month after SolarCity reported a bigger-than-expected first quarter loss as installations fell short of their target and renewable energy suffered due to tumbling oil prices.Shares of the renewable energy company, which is backed by Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk, have fallen more than 50 percent year-to-date.