Wal-Mart recently filed a testimony with the N.C. Utilities Commission complaining that Duke Energy Carolinas solar plan prevents customers, like Wal- Mart, from keeping the solar energy produced by their own systems, Charlotte Business Journal reports. Wal-Mart contends that Duke intends to own all the solar equipment that produces energy for the electric grid in its service area.
Wal-Mart says it has an interest both as a customer and as company interested in its own renewable energy program. The company, with 128 stores in North Carolina, says Duke’s plan for a $100 million network of solar panels would limit its opportunities.
In the testimony, Ken Baker, Wal-Mart’s senior manager on sustainable energy, says, “Duke’s proposal would completely pre-empt the field of solar generation in its service territory and extend Duke’s monopoly to include that business.”
Duke says it would pay homes or businesses for the use of the property to install solar panels. But customers would have to turn over the renewable energy credits to Duke.
Sam’s Club recently completed a 546 kilowatt solar power system at its Glendora, Calif. store. The system is expected to provide about 27 percent of the store’s electricity.
In late 2005, the company announced its goal to be ultimately supplied by 100 percent renewable energy.
Since then the company has been taking strides to green its brand, installing solar panels on its roof tops, reshaping milk cartons, and in one of its latest moves – asking suppliers to submit “green” products to help the company tell its story.
But Wal-Mart has been facing tough green questions from critics for lobbying against defining and standardizing carbon offsets for proposed cap-and-trade programs.