Bentonville, Ark. - At an event with President Barack Obama, Walmart announced that it will double the number of on-site solar energy projects at its U.S. stores, Sam’s Clubs and distribution centers by 2020. The commitment is part of Walmart’s global initiative to drive the production or procurement of 7 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of renewable energy by the end of 2020.
With its new commitment, Walmart will double its solar energy projects in the U.S. and Puerto Rico during the next six years, compared to a 2013 baseline. The retailer made the announcement while hosting President Obama at a solar-powered store in Mountain View, California.
In addition, Walmart has signed on to the Department of Energy’s Better Buildings Initiative, reinforcing the company’s commitment to reduce the energy intensity of its buildings by 20% by 2020, compared to a 2010 baseline. In total, Walmart estimates its 2020 commitments to scale renewables and accelerate energy efficiency globally could save the company as much as $1 billion a year in energy costs.
The Mountain View store currently derives 14.5% of its energy from solar systems built and installed by SolarCity, a local California business and one of Walmart’s largest solar vendors. According to SolarCity, its projects with Walmart alone have created an estimated 9,000 construction jobs, and SolarCity has created an additional 5,000 permanent American jobs since it initiated its first project with Walmart in 2010.
“We share the President’s commitment to a sustainable energy future and applaud his willingness to partner with business on this important issue,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart U.S. “We know from experience that investing in energy innovation allows us to save money, reduce carbon pollution, and create jobs. Every day, millions of Americans depend on us to watch every penny so that we can provide the best prices on products they love. Our customers can feel good that we’re watching out for both their wallets and their children’s future.”