Wal-Mart, one of the largest corporations in the world, has made the opening move toward its goal of 100% renewable energy operation. As reported in Energy & Power Management Magazine under the headline “Wal-Mart Launches Solar Power Pilot Project”, Wal-Mart announced its intention to purchase solar panels from BP Solar, SunEdison LLC, and PowerLight for installation at 22 pilot locations. Each solar installation is expected to provide up to 30 percent of the power demand for the facility where it is installed.
The 22 participating Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores will be in California and Hawaii, where power is expensive. Given Wal-Mart’s concern for the bottom line, this project will demonstrate one of the long-held axioms of this blog: if executed correctly, renewable energy is more economical than conventional fossil fuel energy (see Energy Technology is NOT a Bubble). In fact, David Ozment, director of energy for Wal-Mart, said that pilot project stores are expected to achieve savings over their current utility rates immediately — as soon as the first day of operation.
Full details of Wal-Mart’s solar pilot program are given in a press release, “Wal-Mart Announces Solar Power Pilot Project” on the Wal-Mart Facts Web site.