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Walmart Appeals to California Liberals with Solar Movement

Walmart today has announced a way to appeal to the mass of eco-friendly California Liberals by installing solar panels on more than 75 percent of its stores in the state, making California the first state in the nation where Walmart has devoted this level of commitment to renewable energy.

For myself this news comes as no surprise, living in Northern California I hear a lot of non-sense about making companies forcefully be ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’. The idea that Walmart is going to appeal to those who normally shop in their stores here through the means of ‘eco-friendly energy sources’ is something I am surprised they didn’t do the first time they build a Walmart in this state.

“California presents a great opportunity for Walmart to make significant progress toward our sustainability goals by installing solar power on more than 130 store rooftops throughout the state,” said Kim Saylors-Laster, Walmart vice president of energy. “Walmart has reduced energy expenses by more than a million dollars through our solar program, allowing us to pass these savings on to our customers in the form of everyday low prices.”

When completed, Walmart’s solar commitment in California is expected to generate up to 70 million kilowatt hours of clean, renewable energy per year, which is equal to powering more than 5,400 homes. It will also avoid producing more than 21,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, which is equal to 4,100 cars off the road and provide 20 to 30 percent of each facility’s total electric needs.

The goal of course is to become a 100 percent renewable energy dependent company which will give them good face time in the light of most people finding Walmart to be a ‘mom and pop store killer’. I see no benefit in the movement other than to look good, since I doubt that in the planning process of building a Walmart there wasn’t an idea to add solar panels upon a massive Super-Walmart, but for most Californian’s hearing this news will probably think they made a big step in the fight towards ‘saving the environment’.

What do you guys think? Is this just an attempt to look good in a ‘Eco-Friendly’ state or is it a legitimate business plan?

Learn more the author of this post:

Andrew Wilson
Andrew has been poking and prodding computers for 11 years who occasionally writes about Technology and Video Games while working towards getting his Bachelors in Computer Engineering. He is also one of the contributors to the Let's Play's on the site.
  • Colin Brown

    ” I see no benefit in the movement other than to look good, since I doubt that in the planning process of building a Walmart there wasn’t an idea to add solar panels upon a massive Super-Walmart”

    Not sure what you mean here. If there is a viable location to build a Walmart, they will build a Walmart. That’s business. If however they can use less power or potentially even sell some back to the grid that’s a win. Of course putting some solar panels on the roof doesn’t clean Walmart of its crimes but at least we can hope that it will put pressure on competing big box stores to do the same. If every square foot of roofing on commercial buildings were covered in solar panels we’d have a lot of power!

  • Andrew Wilson

    I meant, why now? What was preventing them from doing this during the building phase of the store itself? If they wanted to be more reliant on Solar Energy, then why not do it on every super-walmart they built (since I assume in the very beginning most smaller walmart’s didn’t have the funding for such a thing). It is just a personal opinion I find odd about the situation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-Carlson/290200005 Bill Carlson

     They didn’t install solar panels on their roofs when they built the Walmart for the same reason people didn’t install solar panels on their roofs when their houses were built 20 years ago – the cost/benefit of solar panels didn’t make sense, and now it does – particularly when buying such a huge number of panels all at once.  By the way, I don’t care whether Walmart is doing this just to ‘look good’ or because they genuinely care about the environment, because in the end the result is the same.

  • Adam Smith

    Do not be distracted by the politics. This is just good business. With tax rebates, rooftop solar systems in California can pay for themselves and provide a decent profit rather quickly.  Many Walmarts already have solar installed.  Take a look with google maps at this Walmart: 2770 Carson St, Lakewood, CA.

  • Anonymous

    “the result is the same.”

    Correct, tons of taxpayer subsidies redirected to a large company.

  • Andrew Wilson

    I just find it odd they are only realizing this now then. I would imagine that there has been large amounts of proof to show that solar is both cost efficient and eco-friendly for over 10 years now, I would imagine that this isn’t the first time Walmart has thought of the idea, so there has to be some reason as to their change, which yes, while the result is still the same, there is a really odd curtain I want to look behind and figure out what is going on exactly. 

    I guess it could just be my natural distrust of Walmart as a whole or the fact I begin to bleed from my ears when I hear anything that relates to eco-friendly blabber, but this sudden change, in this state, just seems rather odd. Had they done this is Texas or Nevada, I wouldn’t find this the slightest bit of odd and just go with “Good luck and enjoy the ride”. 

    Granted, it could just all come down to as ‘fche’ was saying; government benefits for using solar energy, which means making more money off of something that smaller companies just can’t provide or even manage to do so. 

  • Anonymous

    Erm, perhaps it’s just economically worth doing?  All that real-estate, and with the costs of temperature control etc, I bet those solar installs pay for themselves in 10-15 years, as well as increase the value of that retail space.  Next stop: solar parking spaces: not only do you get juice to use, charge cars, or sell back to the grid, your customers get shady places to park!

    All that, plus a stick in the eye of camelf–ker oil sleazebags, what’s not to love?

  • http://www.facebook.com/anna.riley.peeples Anna Peeples

    Way to be a snarky asshole about this, I have no idea why /. picked up on your take on this. Never mind the bizzare idea that it’s just ‘dem loony moonbat liberals that want to keep are cuntry out of the icy grip of OPEC and other similar forces of foreign control (I thought liberals were supposed to hate america?? so confused) but with gigantic stores like this, and the plummeting costs of solar panels, this just makes sense. Heck, just putting something to absorb the heat on the roof of those things and send it elsewhere would save most wal marts a ton of money, never mind that “somewhere else” being a generator.

  • Andrew Wilson

    Well, I think we are a decent while away from solar recharge station’s and electric cars, this weird thing of large investments going towards companies who produce oil guzzling cars and no funding going towards electric cars makes it hard to keep making something that obviously some people don’t want to be made. 

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