Wal-Mart is purchasing as much as 20 million kWh of solar power, from BP Solar, SunEdison LLC, and PowerLight, a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation, for 22 combined Wal-Mart stores, Sam’s Clubs and a distribution center in Hawaii and California.
The announcement is the result of a request for proposal that the company issued last year.
Each solar power system installed can provide up to 30 percent of a store’s power. By Wal-Mart’s estimates, installing the solar power systems will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6,500-10,000 metric tons per year. “Pilot project stores are expected to achieve savings over their current utility rates immediately-as soon as the first day of operation,” said David Ozment, director of energy for Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart will use the power generated by the solar panels onsite at each store and will also keep the renewable energy credits (RECs) the units produce.
There have been many announcements recently concerning solar installations at retail companies:
- Kohl’s is converting more than 75 percent of its department stores in California to solar power beginning in May.
- Target has installed solar panels on the roofs of four of its California stores and plans to install similar systems at 14 more locations later this year.
- BJ’s Wholesale Club has installed solar power systems on the rooftops of two Connecticut BJ’s Wholesale Clubs.
- Costco has installed its second solar-powered energy system at its Lake Elsinore, California warehouse.
- Staples recently unveiled the largest solar power installation in New England at its 300,000-square-foot retail distribution center in Killingly, Connecticut.
- Tesco, the fourth-largest retail chain in the world, is installing a $13 million solar roof on its five-building, 820,400-square-foot distribution center under construction in Riverside, California.
- Wal-Mart is already using solar power in its experimental stores.
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.