Oxmoor Center is one of two malls on Shelbyville Road. | Courtesy of Oxmoor Center

Shelbyville Road mall Oxmoor Center is now powered in part by solar energy, and Mall St. Matthews is slated to follow suit next year.

Kendall Merrick, general manager of Oxmoor Center, announced from a stage at the mall on Monday that a new solar array consisting of 2,400 panels would supply more than 40 percent of the electric that Oxmoor Center needs to operate. It amounts to more than one million kilowatt-hours of energy, she noted, which equals the amount of energy needed to drive around the world 76 times (presuming one could drive the whole way).

General Growth Properties, which runs Oxmoor Center and Mall St. Matthews in Louisville, is “doing right for our world while becoming more efficient mall operators,” Merrick said.

The company invested roughly $1.5 million in the solar panel project at Oxmoor Center and will invest in solar panels for Mall St. Matthews in 2018, according to a public relations representative at General Growth Properties. North Carolina-based Strata Solar developed the project, and Cincinnati-based Solar Energy Solutions installed them.

The solar array is now the largest in Louisville, according to Merrick and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Solar panels are “good for the environment, good for business,” Fischer said, calling the project “a big step.”

Fischer also noted during his speech that greenhouse gas emissions in the city had declined 17 percent since 2018 and that city employees were working to inventory where greenhouse gas emissions are coming from in Louisville to spot areas for improvement.

“We still have plenty of work to do, but this is an achievement to build on,” he said.

The city also plans to plant 8,000 trees in South Louisville to help lessen the heat island effects of the Watterson Expressway, Fischer said. “These are investments in our future and the health of our citizens.”

The Solar Energy Industries Association recognized General Growth Properties, along with retailers like Target, Walmart, Costco and Kohl’s, as one of the top 10 corporate solar installers in the United States in 2016. General Growth Properties at the time had solar panels that produced 30.2 megawatts of energy.

Caitlin Bowling

Caitlin Bowling

Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]