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US retail giant Walmart is continuing to fulfill its promise to invest in renewable energy and has installed solar panels on the rooftop of its College Avenue store in San Diego to generate electricity. This marks the company’s100th solar installation in California and is in line with its aim to expand its solar portfolio to more than 75% of its stores in the state, approximately 130 stores, by the end of 2013.
When complete, Walmart’s total combined solar efforts in California are expected to generate up to 70 million kW hours of renewable energy per year and provide each facility with 10-30% of its electricity needs.
The move is also in-line with the company’s broader sustainability goals to use 100% renewable energy. Walmart remains committed to its sustainability goals and is continuing to invest in solar energy around the country despite the US Senate’s decision to not extend the Department of Treasury’s solar energy tax credits. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Green Power Partnership programme ranks Walmart as the second-largest on-site green power generator in the US.
Since Walmart announced its first solar projects in September 2010, the company claims to have created more than 3,000 contract construction jobs in California. Walmart states its investment in solar power typically generates an average of 48 contract positions per site. Meanwhile, its partner SolarCity has hired a total of 1,213 employees. SolarCity installed and will manage and maintain 70 of the 100 new solar power systems in the state.
Commenting on its commitment to renewable energy, Kimberly Sentovich, the senior vice president of the Pacific Division for Walmart, said, “At Walmart, we believe sustainability is about living better. 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.”
By demonstrating its commitment to solar energy, Walmart is hoping to set an example and is encouraging other companies to follow suit.