The largest company in the world in terms of revenue is also the company that has installed more solar power on its roofs than any other. Known for its low prices, I think it’s safe to say that this company isn’t installing solar for good press, but is doing so in order to save money.
At nearly 90 megawatts (MW) at the time of the last “Solar Means Business” report, Walmart had installed approximately 40 MW more than #2 Costco, and approximately twice as much as #3 Kohl’s. Walmart is a giant, so it needs to install a lot more solar power in order to produce as much electricity as it installs. Nonetheless, 90 MW is enough solar power to produce a lot of electricity.
Walmart actually has more solar power installed than 38 US states! In 2013, it generated 2.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable electricity, or about 24.2% of its global electricity use. “We recently committed to driving the production or procurement of 7 billion kWh of renewable energy globally by Dec. 31, 2020. We’re already 32% of the way there,” Walmart writes.
That’s for all renewable energy — the company also has wind power plants. In total, by the end of 2013, Walmart had over 335 renewable energy projects either in operation or in the development pipeline.
It’s impressive to see how much Walmart is investing in general. However, some specific country highlights even look better in relative terms. Here are some 2013 stats from Walmart regarding three large countries:
1) "Walmart Mexico broke ground on four large-scale renewable energy projects that will be completed in 2014. Combined, these projects will add 252 megawatts (MW) of clean energy. Together with the 67.5 MW of wind energy currently serving Walmart Mexico stores, these projects will represent 1,195 GWh of renewable energy, more than 40% of its annual consumption. Walmart Mexico is on track to supply 60% of its energy demand needs for 1,233 stores through renewable energy by the end of 2014."
2) "Walmart Brazil entered a bid to purchase green power on the open market sourced from sugar mill, hydropower and small hydropower plants. To date, 84 stores are being served by this clean energy, with an expected savings of 11.5% on each store’s energy bill. Eventually, 97 stores will be served through this green power bid."
3) "Walmart U.S. installed its 250th solar energy system, each providing 15% to 30% of a store’s electricity needs. Walmart U.S. grew its number of fuel-cell sites to 42, each site providing 40% to 60% of store needs. These new systems bring us closer to our anticipated total of more than 1,000 projects worldwide."
Wow. It’s hard to find another major corporation with such impressive stats. But the point to drive home again is: Walmart is going solar in a big way because it saves the company money.
Image Credits: SEIA / Vote Solar, Walmart