Walmart Goes Solar In Pursuit of Sustainability

Walmart yesterday announced that another six stores in Colorado State will go solar as part of the SolarCity project. With these new installations, the company will have reached 100 solar power installations. Walmart intends its retail and distribution facilities will be 100 per cent powered with alternative energy.

"Walmart has set ambitious renewable energy goals and these solar installations are another step in that journey," said Kim Saylors-Laster, Walmart vice president of energy. "Solar power continues to show promise as an alternative to traditional power for its environmental and economic benefits.”

The installations, totaling two megawatts on three stores in Westminster and one each in Lakewood, Highlands Ranch and Lafayette, will help Colorado State meet its renewable energy goals. Colorado hopes to produce 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

The expansion of Walmart’s use of solar power in Colorado shows that even places with harsh winter conditions can embrace large-scale solar power. Colorado currently ranks fifth among the United States’ top 10 states for total amount of installed solar capacity.

When complete, Walmart's SolarCity projects in Colorado are expected to generate nearly three million kilowatt-hours of clean, renewable energy per year, which is the equivalent of powering more than 225 homes. The solar projects are expected to prevent more than 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

SolarCity engineered and delivered a customized, cost-effective solution to meet the requirements of large, flat rooftop-solar systems operating in the Rocky Mountain climate.

Walmart operates 86 facilities and employs 25,238 people in Colorado. SolarCity, which has operations centers in Denver and Parker, Colo., will install, own and maintain the six new solar power systems.

Last October General Electric announced it would build a new solar panel factory in Aurora, Colo., near the location where it runs its solar research center and a 30 MW factory that it bought from PrimeStar in early 2011.

Image credit: Walmart