Environment

Louisville’s largest solar project is now generating power for holiday shoppers.

Mall St. Matthews in Louisville unveiled more than 1,400 solar panels on its rooftops Wednesday. The project comes two years to the day after Brookfield Properties announced its first solar project on the Oxmoor Center.

Together, the two projects amount to the state’s largest commercial installation supplying enough solar energy to power 134 homes every year, said Steve Ricketts, Solar Energy Solutions general manager and project installer.

“What gives me a huge sense of enjoyment is it sets a standard for Louisville,” Ricketts said. “It something for people to look at and think ‘why aren’t we doing that.’”

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called it a visible demonstration of the “climate emergency” he declared earlier this year, and a commitment to action.

Fischer said more businesses will need to make the switch to renewable energy in order to accomplish the city’s goal to have solar on 25 percent of commercial and government buildings in the city by 2050.

“Their continued shift to more sustainable energy sources is a real model of corporate social responsibility,” Fischer said.

Mall manager David Jacoby said Brookfield Properties was motivated by corporate responsibility, but also said it’s an investment.  The mall expects a 15 to 16 year payoff period on the installation, he said.

Jacoby, Fischer and others made the announcement in a pavilion inside Mall St. Matthews. Onlooker Richard Wilson said he was excited to see companies adopting renewable technologies in Kentucky.

“This is basically our future, if we don’t take care of it now, the environment isn’t going to get any better as we continue to burn all these fossil fuels.”

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.