Walmart recently expanded its solar commitment to Colorado by partnering with SolarCity to begin six new solar projects, which will reduce air pollution and help the state get closer to its renewable energy goals.
Walmart marked its 100th solar installation in the United States and moved the company closer to its long-term goal of using 100 percent renewable energy in its stores across the country.
The installations that were recently completed total two megawatts, and are located at three stores in the Westminster area and one each in Lakewood, Highlands Ranch and Lafayette. Colorado is aiming to produce 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020, and is already home to many projects that display the benefits of using solar energy.
"Like the state of Colorado, 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. We are proud to work with SolarCity and the state of Colorado on this project that creates local jobs, and ultimately helps Walmart reduce its energy costs, so that we can continue to pass on savings to our customers."
The solar installations are predicted to be effective despite the large flat-roof environment where high wind and snow can be challenging for solar projects. When the solar installations are completed, Walmart's SolarCity projects in Colorado are expected to generate close to 3 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy every year, the equivalent of powering 224 homes, and the installations will allow the stores to avoid producing more than 5 million pounds of harmful carbon dioxide emissions annually.
"With these six solar power systems in Colorado, we reach an exciting milestone of 100 solar power installations on U.S. Walmart stores, clubs, and distribution centers," said Marty Gilbert, Walmart director of energy. "While Walmart's investment in solar technology has significantly grown in recent years, we know there is still much work to be done to reach our environmental goals and look forward to continuing to work with states like Colorado and suppliers like SolarCity to take full advantage of solar power."
The installations in Colorado continue Walmart's commitment to new technology on a large scale in the state despite its winter weather, which can cause problems at times if solar arrays aren't properly maintained. However, these weather related challenges are very surmountable, as Colorado currently ranks fifth among the country's top 10 states for the total amount of solar capacity installed.
Toby Corey, chief revenue officer for SolarCity, pointed out that his company and Walmart have partnered to boost renewable energy use in two other big solar states: Arizona and California. He added that Walmart is showing other businesses they can be eco-friendly while saving money on electricity.
Walmart is making renewable energy an integral part of the company in hopes of one day using 100 percent solar energy sources at all of its stores throughout the country. In addition to the recent installation in Colorado, Walmart and SolarCity also announced plans to install solar panels on up to 60 additional stores in California, which would expand the company's solar portfolio and increase California solar installation.
While Walmart is playing a major part in solar installations, IKEA is also playing a major part in carbon emissions reduction, recently installing solar panels at its location in Paramus, New Jersey.