Walmart builds green rep with opening of 100th solar store

SAN DIEGO — Walmart has unveiled its 100th solar-powered store in San Diego. By working with California-based SolarCity, the company’s focus on solar power has generated more than 3,000 contract construction jobs in California. In turn, SolarCity has hired 1,213 employees since announcing its first Walmart projects in September 2010. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company will install, manage and maintain 70-of-the-100 new solar power systems.

“At Walmart, we believe sustainability is about living better,” said Kimberly Sentovich, SVP Pacific division for Walmart. “By using one of California’s greatest resources – sunshine – and employing renewable technology with our California-based partners, we will continue developing solutions that are both good for the environment and good for business.”

The total combined solar efforts in California are expected to:

  • Generate up to 70 million kilowatt hours of clean, renewable energy per year;

  • Avoid producing more than 21,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year; and

  • Provide 10% to 30%of each facility’s total electricity needs.

“Walmart is showing other businesses that you can create jobs and reduce air pollution by using better energy,” SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said. “In Walmart, other businesses seeking efficiency and smart energy policy have a strong example to follow.”

There now are 100 Walmart stores and Sam’s Clubs in California using traditional and thin film solar installations. After launching its solar pilot program in May 2007, Walmart strengthened its commitment to renewable energy in the state of California last year when it announced plans to expand its solar portfolio to more than 75% of its stores in California, approximately 130 stores, by the end of 2013. Since then the company has worked with local companies to install solar technology at stores from Chico to San Diego.

“Walmart’s solar power initiatives shows how companies can help bring cost-effective energy solutions to scale as part of ‘business-as-usual,’” said Gwen Ruta, VP Environmental Defense Fund’s Corporate Partnership Program. “This milestone for Walmart’s efforts demonstrates the growing roles for renewables in America’s energy future.”