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Walmart Announces 27 Solar Projects Totalling 10.5 MW

Walmart has announced plans to install solar photovoltaic arrays on 27 of its Massachusetts stores as early as August, adding on-site generation to more than half of its outlets in the state.

The arrays are in the engineering phase and still require permits, the Boston Globe reports. Once operational, the installations should have a total capacity of 10.5 MW, the paper reports. Each solar plant will provide around 10 to 15 percent of its store’s energy.

The retail giant operates 50 stores in the state.

Walmart’s Massachusetts solar plants will be built, owned and operated by Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC. Greenskies will sell all of the energy generated by the panels to Walmart.

The Globe reports that Walmart’s solar development was spurred, in part, by an initiative to encourage such projects enacted in 2008 by Governor Deval Patrick. Patrick had sought to encourage big box retailers to place solar arrays on their large, flat roofs in a bid to increase Massachusetts’ solar offering to 250 MW by 2017.

Walmart has installed, or announced plans to install, a lot of solar power in recent months. In September last year, the company announced plans to complete rooftop solar arrays on more than three quarters of its California stores, with projects planned for up to 60 locations. The projects will bring Walmart’s total number of solar installations in California to 130. Each store’s array will provide 20 to 30 percent of its electric needs. Combined they should generate up to 70 million kWh of renewable energy per year.

In April, Walmart announced six solar projects totaling 2 MW on stores in Colorado. The Colorado solar arrays, to be built by SolarCity, are in the metropolitan Denver area. When complete the Colorado arrays are expected to generate nearly 3 million kWh of renewable energy per year. The solar projects will prevent more than 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year, Walmart says.

The company also has solar projects in Hawaii, Arizona and Puerto Rico (pictured). It also began building projects in New Jersey, the Globe reports. In total Walmart currently has 50 MW of solar power generating power on its rooftops.

In the EPA’s Green Power Partnership rankings, Walmart ranks fourth for its Texas and California facilities alone. These stores use 872 million kWh of green power a year, through a combination of on-site generation and power purchases from utilities and retail suppliers.

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