US retail giant Walmart announced completion of the company’s largest solar power project at its distribution center in Apple Valley, California last week.
The solar farm consists of over 5,300 ground-mounted solar panels covering over 7 acres with an output of one megawatt – enough to power 175 homes.
The Apple Valley Distribution Center installation is part of a solar power initiative Walmart embarked on in May 2007 to purchase solar power systems for up to 22 of its stores and distribution facilities in California and Hawaii. Last year the company announced it was expanding its solar power initiative to nearly double its solar energy use in California.
Walmart’s California initiatives will see the projects generate up to 32 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year combined – enough to power more than 2,600 homes and avoid the production of more than 22,500 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
Walmart says it is committed to being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy and creating zero waste – a huge undertaking given the company serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,000 retail units under 53 different brands in 15 countries.
Closer to home, retailers in Australia have been somewhat slow on solar power uptake even given generous solar incentives for business in the form of solar rebates and tax breaks are available.
Supermarkets, variety and hardware stores are particularly well placed to harvest clean energy from the sun given their considerable roof space. A retailer recently recognising the direct and indirect benefits of installing a grid connected solar power system on its rooftop is Renaissance Supa IGA supermarket in Hawthorn, Victoria; who recently acquired a system from national provider Energy Matters.