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Walmart lights the way on solar energy


Walmart is fulfilling its promise earlier this year to make a big investment in solar energy: The retailer has accepted bids from SunEdison and SolarCity to install as many as 400 new solar systems on its facilities over the next four years.

“This is the beginning of the next wave in renewable energy for Walmart, an effort we announced in May when we welcomed President Obama to our Mountain View, California store,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, VP of energy at Walmart. “These projects bring us closer to fulfilling our commitment to double the number of on-site solar energy projects in U.S. stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers, thereby reducing our energy expenses and generating clean energy in local communities.”

The company said it estimates that the solar systems will meet 10% to 30% of the energy needs of the facilities where they will be installed. Walmart currently has 260 operational solar plants at its stores, representing 105 megawatts of installed solar capacity. This makes Walmart, the world's largest retailer, also the largest corporate user of solar energy in the United States.

Walmart installed its first on-site solar project in the United States in 2005. At the end of 2013, Walmart had more than 335 renewable energy projects in operation, providing more than 2.2 billion kilowatt hours of renewable electricity annually.

The company has said it is committed to 100% renewable energy by 2020.

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