The company made the announcement while hosting President Obama at a solar-powered store in Mountain View, California. The President visited the store in order to highlight the importance of energy efficiency and renewables in maintaining a strong American energy system. The company said that the projects will be delivered to its US stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centres and is part of the company’s global initiative to drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy by 2020.
Walmart is intent on supplying 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources and has made significant progress towards this goal in recent years.
“We share the President’s commitment to a sustainable energy future and applaud his willingness to partner with business on this important issue” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart US. “We know from experience that investing in energy innovation allows us to save money, reduce carbon pollution, and create jobs. Every day, millions of Americans depend on us to watch every penny so that we can provide the best prices on products they love. Our customers can feel good that we’re watching out for both their wallets and their children’s future.”
According to the Solar Energy Industry Association, Walmart is the top US commercial solar energy user and is also recognised by the EPA’s Green Power Partnership as the country’s largest on-site renewable energy user. The company has also signed up to the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative, reinforcing its intention to reduce the energy intensity of its buildings by 20 percent by 2020 compared to a 2010 baseline. It believes that its commitments to renewables and energy efficiency globally could save the company as much as $1 billion per year in energy costs.
The Mountain View installation was developed by SolarCity, a local California-based business which is also one of Walmart’s largest solar vendors. SolarCity believes that its contracts with Walmart have created an estimated 9,000 construction jobs in the US.
“One of SolarCity’s biggest challenges is that customers are still stuck with the stigma that clean energy is expensive” said Lyndon Rive, the company’s CEO. “Walmart’s scale, brand, and leadership is sending the signal that solar is cost effective. Walmart is showing you can be sustainable, and you can do it at prices that meet or beat the price of energy from the grid.”
Since 2005, Walmart’s greenhouse gas emissions have grown at only one-quarter the rate of the company’s growth, nearly flat-lining in recent years. The company anticipates an absolute decline in GHG emissions by 2020 despite significant growth plans over that same time period.
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