Retail behemoth Walmart has announced plans to install solar panels on the roofs of up to 60 additional stores in California. Once complete, over 75 percent of Walmart’s California stores will be solar-powered. In total, the systems will generate up to 70 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, enough to meet 20 to 30 percent of each store’s total demand, or power more than 5,400 homes.
The investment builds on the existing partnership between Walmart and San Mateo-based installer SolarCity, which will own, install and maintain the new solar power systems. Since starting its first Walmart solar project, the SolarCity has added more than 500 new full-time jobs, and expects to hire hundreds more before the end of the year.
According to the company’s Global Responsibility Report, Walmart aims to eventually power its stores with 100 percent renewable energy. In 2011, 35 solar electric systems were installed on stores in Arizona, California and Puerto Rico.
Walmart also installed seven fuel cell projects in California, and completed two microturbine wind projects on the parking lot light poles at the Walmart in Worcester, Mass., and at the Sam’s Club in Palmdale, Calif. It is also purchasing wind energy credits to power stores in Texas and Mexico.