Wal-Mart Aims High with Solar Power Project

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced a purchase of solar power from three solar power providers, BP Solar, SunEdison LLC, and PowerLight, a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation, for 22 combined Wal-Mart stores.

The total solar power production from the stores is estimated at 20 million kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year, possibly becoming one of the world’s top-10 solar power initiatives in the U.S. when fully implemented. 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, which is unique among most solar power purchases. Enabling Wal-Mart to maintain ownership of the RECs and its stores’ environmental benefits is another important factor in allowing Wal-Mart to reach its goal of being supplied by 100 percent renewable energy. “Wal-Mart’s decision to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of solar power and energy efficiency technologies is a great step in the right direction,” said Ron Judkoff, director of the Buildings and Thermal Systems Center at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “As a global business leader, Wal-Mart has chosen to generate clean, renewable solar power at its facilities because it makes good business sense and supports the company’s environmental initiatives,” said Tom Werner, chief executive officer of SunPower. “SunPower and our PowerLight subsidiary are committed to making solar an affordable, simple choice for businesses.”

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