For more than a year, Urban Outfitters has mulled whether to install a large solar power array on the roof of the e-commerce fulfillment center it is building outside Gap.
The decision is now a "yes," helped along by a $3 million state grant, announced Thursday by Gov. Tom Corbett.
Urban Outfitters said last summer that it was considering putting a 5-megawatt solar-power array on the roof of the roughly 1-million-square-foot building.
Early this month, the Philadelphia-based fashion retailer's chief development officer, David Ziel, outlined a 4.1-megawatt project that would cost $9 million.
Urban Outfitters is “very pro solar,” Ziel said.
According to the governor’s statement, the project’s capacity is now 3 megawatts, enough to supply up to half of the building’s total energy use.
It will be the Pennsylvania's largest roof-mounted solar array and seventh largest array overall.
An update on the installation cost was not immediately available.
It may exceed $12 million, judging from a July 12 letter to Corbett from state Rep. Gorden Denlinger.
The letter requested a grant of $6 million, saying that amount would represent less than half the cost of the array.
Ziel did not return messages Thursday seeking comment.
Urban Outfitters previously said the project was expected to pay for itself in 3 1/2 to just over 9 years.
It will reduce greenhouse gases by the equivalent of 700 cars’ worth of emissions, according to estimates.
Its cost amounts to just a few percent of the facility’s total price tag of $110 million.
Urban Outfitters has said it is on schedule with the building under construction at Brackbill Road and Route 30 in Salisbury Township.
It is across the street from the company’s smaller existing distribution center, which opened in 1996.
It is expected to begin operations next summer, serving as a central warehouse for shipping online orders directly to customers all along the East Coast.
It is expected to employ 500 people at first, expanding to as many as 1,500 during peak periods.
The $3 million grant was made under the state’s Economic Growth Initiative program, a retooled version of the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.
Denlinger, whose district includes the project site, told Corbett in his letter that “Urban has proven itself to be a valuable partner and ally to the local area and the region.”
“I wholeheartedly request your support for this important project,” he wrote.
Besides the grant for the solar installation, the e-fulfillment center has received a 10-year break on local and state taxes, courtesy of its site being declared a Keystone Opportunity Zone.
Urban Outfitters also is expanding its headquarters in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. That is a roughly $100 million project, and is also taking place in a Keystone Opportunity Zone.