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Walmart expands solar initiative at California stores

On September 21, Walmart announced plans to install solar panels on up to 60 more stores in California, bringing the retail giant’s PV initiative to over 75 percent of Walmart stores in the state.

The partnership between Walmart and California-based SolarCity includes solar installations on a total of 130 California Walmart stores by 2013. SolarCity will own and operate the systems, selling the power to Walmart.

Photo Credit: Walmart Corporate

By the end of the project, 20 to 30 percent of each store’s total electricity needs will be fulfilled by solar energy, generating up to 70 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year. The solar installations already in place on 70 stores have lowered energy costs by one million dollars thus far.

“Walmart has undertaken one of the most ambitious solar initiatives of any company in the U.S., and tripled the scale of its initial project with us,” said Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity.

“Walmart is setting an example that far more companies in the U.S. can follow; it is possible for many businesses to pay less for solar power than they currently pay for electricity,” he said.

Since the beginning of the project, SolarCity has added over 500 new full-time jobs, and expects to hire hundreds more new employees by the end of 2011. This project expansion comes just weeks after SolarCity announced plans to install up to 160,000 solar units on military housing complexes.

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