As another indication of solar energy’s growth toward mainstream adoption, especially in for-profit business sectors, Wal-Mart has announced that they are shifting from small pilot projects to major deployment of solar energy systems on their stores across the U.S. and around the world. The strategic goal is to produce 100 percent of their stores’ power through renewable energy. This from the dominant discount retailer whose every move is aimed at trimming costs to keep prices as low as possible.
Walmart Ups Ante in Renewable Energy Effort by Christopher Kolomitz
Seeking a path to 100 percent renewable energy at its stores, officials with Walmart said Monday they will increase the number of renewable energy projects the company completes by six times. The announcement comes as company officials look for ways to save on energy costs and meet the goal of 100 percent renewable energy which was previously announced in 2005.
According to Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke the company will drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy globally every year, a 600 percent increase over 2010 levels.
Officials said Walmart’s six-fold increase in renewable energy projects is expected to be equal to eliminating the need for roughly two U.S. fossil fuel power plants. Walmart also announced new plans to reduce the kWh/sq. ft. energy intensity required to power buildings globally by 20 percent compared to 2010 levels. The two new commitments are anticipated to generate more than $1 billion annually in energy savings once fully implemented.
“When I look at the future, energy costs may grow as much as twice as fast as our anticipated store and club growth,” Duke said. “Finding cleaner and more affordable energy is important to our every-day low cost business model and that makes it important to our customers’ pocketbooks.”
In 2012 alone, Walmart added nearly 100 renewable energy projects, bringing the total number of projects in operation worldwide to nearly 300 today. The company already is using more onsite renewable power than any other company in the U.S, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
In the U.S. alone, Walmart hopes to install solar power on at least 1,000 rooftops and facilities by 2020, a significant increase from just over 200 solar projects in operation or under development currently. The company also plans to invest and develop wind and fuel cell projects and will also procure offsite renewable energy from utility-scale projects, such as large wind projects, micro-hydro projects and geothermal.