Megaretailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc. just unveiled its 100th solar system in the state of California. All told, that brings the superstore’s solar installations to 150 throughout the country. What’s more, by the end of 2012, it expects to have as much as 90 megawatts of capacity, which would be more than IKEA and more than Apple.
“We are trying to show folks that you can not only pursue these sustainability initiatives, they also make business sense,” said Marty Gilbert, director of energy for Wal-Mart, explaining that using renewable energy is not only good for the environment but also can drive down prices. “The more we get involved and commit to volume, the more the prices come down for the technology,” he said.
Wal-Mart installed its first solar projects in 2008 and has been installing panels in areas where utility rates are typically higher—such as California, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Ohio and Connecticut. Supplementing their energy needs with solar providers cuts the company’s overall costs.
Through the new California system, the company hopes to create up to 70 million kilowatts of clean, renewable energy every year; eliminate over 21,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year; and cover as much as 30 percent of each facility’s electricity needs.
“At Walmart, we believe sustainability is about living better,” said Kimberly Sentovich, Senior Vice President of the Pacific Division for Wal-mart. “By using one of California’s greatest resources – sunshine – and employing renewable technology with our California-based partners, we will continue developing solutions that are both good for the environment and good for business.”
For more information about Wal-Mart’s sustainability projects, visit WalMartStores.com/Sustainability.
Home goods giant IKEA just added three new solar energy systems to its Pennsylvania operations—two at its Philadelphia-area stores and another atop its U.S. Service Office in Conshohocken. Combined with its other solar projects, this brings IKEA solar projects up to 29 in the United States alone. What’s more, the company is currently working on 10 more additions. When all is said and done, IKEA should have a solar presence of nearly 89% and be able to generate 38 megawatts.
“This solar installation is another example of how we build on our ongoing sustainability commitment,” said Kevin Bohon, store manager of the IKEA store in Conshohocken. Likewise, Lisa Christensen, store manager in South Philadelphia, added that “A solar energy system atop the store reduces our carbon footprint and improves what we do today for a better tomorrow.”
The new solar projects in the Philadelphia area total 286,300 square feet and on their own will produce as much as 2.21 megawatts of power. They’re built with 9,198 panels, designed and installed by Gehrlicher Solar America Corp., which IKEA contracted with for the projects.
According to a company press release Tuesday, IKEA’s sustainable drives in America currently include initiatives such as “recycling waste material; incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.”
To learn more about IKEA and its solar efforts, visit IKEA.com.