Walmart (NYSE:WMT) plans to 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 kWh of renewable energy by the end of 2020.
The announcement was made during a visit by President Barack Obama to a solar-powered store in Mountain View, California. The Mountain View store currently derives 14.5 percent of its energy from solar systems built and installed by SolarCity, a local California business and one of Walmart's largest solar vendors.
"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 Walmart U.S. "We know from experience that investing in energy innovation allows us to save money, reduce carbon pollution, and create jobs."
The President's visit followed the release of a new federal report on climate change and pollution's effects on the environment and extreme weather conditions. Private companies, including Walmart, are projected to create enough new solar energy to power more than 130,000 homes and yield substantial energy savings.
Walmart today is the No. 1 commercial solar energy user according to the Solar Energy Industry Association and is recognized as the largest on-site renewable energy user in America by the EPA's Green Power Partnership.
Earlier this week, Walmart also 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 percent by 2020, compared to a 2010 baseline.
In total, Walmart's 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 retailer has shone a spotlight on sustainability and green initiatives in recent weeks, hosting a three day sustainability product expo that brought together buyers, suppliers, nonprofits and government agencies to further spur collaboration between retailers and brands.
-See this Walmart press release
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