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Walmart goes big on solar to prepare for all-out 2020 renewable targets

December 2, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Retail giant Walmart has announced plans to install 400 new solar systems at stores and depots across the US over the next four years.

The business, the world’s largest by revenue according to the 2014 Fortune Global 500 list, has a commitment in place to buy 7 billion kWh of renewable energy by the end of 2020 and for its entire energy demand to be met by 100% renewable energy.

The company has opted to work with two preferred solar energy providers, SolarCity and SunEdison, following an RFP process.

“This expansion comes on the heels of the Solar Energy Industries Association’s commercial solar report, which recognizes Walmart as having the most installed solar capacity in the US,” said Pam Kohn, executive vice president at Walmart and president of Walmart Realty.

So far, Walmart has installed around 260 solar projects in the US, with its deployment reaching 105MW – more than double the capacity of the next largest business.

“The new installations will vary in size, commensurate with the respective store or facility.”
The solar installations are thought to be saving the company more than $5m in energy costs.

“This is the beginning of the next wave in renewable energy for Walmart, an effort we announced in May when we welcomed President Obama to our Mountain View California store,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president of energy at Walmart. “These projects bring us closer to fulfilling our commitment to double the number of on-site solar energy projects in US stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers – and reducing our energy expenses and generating clean energy in local communities.”

The new installations will vary in size, commensurate with the respective store or facility. It is expected that smaller systems will provide 10-20% of the facility’s electricity requirements and larger systems will provide 20-30% of the power needed by the facility.

“SunEdison is one of Walmart’s earliest solar providers with projects dating back to 2007,” said Katherine Jennrich, senior manager of energy services at Walmart. “And, SolarCity has been Walmart’s largest solar provider, installing more than 200 projects together since 2010. We are excited to expand our work with both providers.”

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