Walmart announced that it has reached an agreement with SunPower to have the commercial energy provider install solar systems at 19 stores and two distribution centers in Illinois. As part of the project, a mix of rooftop and ground-mount solar systems are expected to account for 23 MW, with start of construction targeted for the first half of 2019.
Walmart is financing the solar projects through a power purchase agreement (PPA) arranged by SunPower, allowing Walmart to buy power at competitive prices and hedge against future utility rate increases with no upfront capital costs. Walmart will own the renewable energy credits associated with the system.
“We commend Walmart for its leadership in driving corporate renewable energy adoption in the United States and for partnering with SunPower to deliver high-efficiency, high-quality solar to so many of its stores and facilities,” said Nam Nguyen, SunPower Executive Vice President, Commercial Americas. “As the top U.S. commercial solar provider and with over 30 years of experience, SunPower is well positioned to help Walmart increase its renewable energy investments in a cost-effective manner.”
In Illinois, smart state policy and rising utility rates make solar a smart investment for commercial customers. These installations will represent a 25 percent increase in Illinois’ current solar capacity and will generate enough electricity to power nearly 30,000 homes.
“Illinois Solar Energy Association is committed to advancing solar locally, enabling companies like Walmart – with stores and employees across our great state – to realize the economic and environmental value of renewable energy,” said Lesley McCain, Executive Director of the Illinois Solar Energy Association. “These projects will create hundreds of jobs for Illinois’ growing solar workforce while reducing pollution across the state.”
This commitment moves Walmart closer to its 2025 goal of supplying its global operations with 50 percent renewable energy. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, the amount of anticipated annual carbon offset by this initiative will be equal to the amount of carbon sequestered by over 24,000 acres of U.S. forest in one year – the size of Elgin, Ill.
“Solar is a vital component of Walmart’s expanding renewable energy portfolio,” said Mark Vanderhelm, vice president of energy for Walmart Inc. “Walmart plans to tirelessly pursue renewable energy projects that are right for our customers, our business and the environment. These planned projects with SunPower are moving us in the right direction toward our renewable energy goals.”
— Solar Builder magazine