Wal-Mart Launches Solar Power Project

Wal-Mart unveiled plans to purchase solar power for 22 Wal-Mart stores, including Sam’s Clubs and a distribution center in Hawaii and California (as part of a pilot project to determine solar power viability for Wal-Mart). The total solar power production from the 22 sites is estimated to be as much as 20 million kWh per year, and the aggregate purchase could be one of the U.S., if not the world’s, top-10 largest solar power initiatives.

“We are taking aggressive steps towards our goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, vice president of energy for Wal-Mart. “The pilot project is yet another example of Wal-Mart’s commitment to making decisions that are good for business and the environment.”

The solar power pilot project is a major step toward Wal-Mart’s goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. Each solar power generating system installed can provide up to 30 percent of the power for the store on which it is installed. SunEdison will provide the four solar power systems in Hawaii and four in California, while PowerLight and BP Solar will each supply seven systems in California.

PowerLight parent company, SunPower, has previously installed solar power systems on three other Wal-Mart facilities. PowerLight’s contract with Wal-Mart is for solar electric power systems totaling 4.6 megawatts on seven facilities. SunEdison will provide four systems in Hawaii and four in California, wile BP Solar will supply seven systems in California.

“Leading companies like Wal-Mart are turning to solar power because it makes good business sense and supports their environmental initiatives,” said Tom Werner, chief executive officer of SunPower.