On Friday, Walmart announced that is has concluded a request for proposals and has accepted bids from SunEdison and SolarCity to install as many as 400 new solar PV systems on its facilities over the next four years.
The company did not say what capacity this will represent, but estimates that the PV systems will meet 10-30% of the energy needs of the facilities where they will be installed.
If 400 are built and they average the same size as Walmart’s existing fleet of PV, the new installations will total around 160 MW. Walmart currently has 260 operational PV plants at its stores, representing 105 MW of installed PV capacity.
This makes Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, also the largest corporate user of PV in the United States. The company boasts more than double the installed PV versus its closest competitor.
SolarCity has installed more than 200 of those PV systems, in less than four years. 13 of these systems also feature energy storage, and SolarCity will be installing another 10 energy storage projects in this new round, which will feature 200 kW/400 kWh battery systems.
Walmart has been praised for its leading role in PV adoption by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). However, the family which owns a majority share in Walmart has come under fire for donating large sums to organizations that are trying to repeal renewable energy policies.
A report by the Institute for Local Self Reliance published in October found that the Walton Family, which also owns 30% of First Solar, has donated more than $4.5 million to organizations that have led and/or initiated attempts to roll back state renewable energy mandates since 2010.